By Nikitta Foston
Drugviu, a population health platform, took home the first-place $5,000 award at AHIMA’s inaugural Pitch Competition, sponsored by Eclat Health Solutions and LeapFrogBI and hosted in collaboration with MATTER, on Monday. Drugviu is a data-based solution that provides usage information on medications prescribed to minority populations based on the experiences of others who have taken the medication.
“This money will allow us to pursue the mission of expanding the data set of medication and health experiences to include minorities,” said Drugviu Founder and CEO Kwaku Owusu. “We’re going after an underserved population. There is no meaningful data on how medication affects 40 percent of the US population,” Owusu said. Our goal is to expand the data set of medication and health experiences to include communities of color.”
Owusu says he is encouraged by the growth of Drugviu which is focused on health conditions that disproportionately affect communities of color including: oncology, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
“We are growing by 300 percent each week,” Owusu said. “We have 7,000 medications on our platform covering more than 700 conditions. Our communities have ideas and questions and experiences about the medications they’re taking, but they don’t have a place to talk about it. Drugviu provides that.”
More than 50 healthcare innovators applied for AHIMA’s Pitch Competition which called for innovative solutions that improve the connections between people, systems, and ideas to transform health and healthcare. Five semi-finalists presented their pitch to a panel of judges, followed by a question and answer segment, before the first-prize winner was announced.
“I was really pleased with the difference in ideas presented today,” said Leslie M. Stokes, AHIMA’s chief product marketing and sales officer, who served as moderator. “Whether the solution involved using the social determinants of health, or an idea based on a family member who was impacted by a health challenge, or a product to improve something that isn’t working properly in our healthcare system, all of the ideas represented innovation.” Stokes said. “The solutions shared were unique and diverse and address how health data and information can advance health and healthcare.”
Owusu says the idea for Drugviu came after speaking before the Food and Drug Administration on medical device safety. “I learned about the under-representation of people of color in research involving medical device safety and I learned there was severe under-representation in medical trials and clinical trials.”
“It’s often harder for the medical communities to reach out to people of color because those communities are apprehensive of clinical trials because of the documented history of misuse and abuse,” Owusu told AHIMA. “Sometimes people don’t understand the purpose of a clinical trial which also makes them less likely to participate.”
Owusu says that his platform can help improve the quality of life. “People are responding because there is a need to understand and to be included.”
Drugviu, launched in March 2019, seeks to increase the number of minorities who participate in clinical trials. “We also want to encourage the medical community to be more inclusive of communities of color.”
“Innovations that help connect people, health systems, and ideas are key to improving health outcomes,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris. “With the inaugural AHIMA Pitch Competition, we’re putting the power to impact health in the hands of enterprising HIM professionals who are developing solutions that will advance healthcare. We congratulate Drugviu on its contributions to expanding and improving healthcare.”
The Pitch Competition was a joint venture between AHIMA and MATTER, a Chicago-based healthcare incubator which has helped more than 230 startups and more than 60 corporations to create impact in their industry.
“The best solutions to improve the healthcare experience are developed through collaboration between entrepreneurs and industry leaders,” said MATTER CEO Steven Collens. “Winning this competition is a great recognition for Drugviu and gives them the opportunity to work closely with leading health information professionals to further develop their solution.”
The first runner-up award of $2,500 was presented to Valhalla Healthcare, an intake solution that uses artificial intelligence to automate clinical documentation for healthcare providers. Uppstroms earned the $1,500 second runner-up award. The company uses machine learning analytics to address upstream social risk to promote better outcomes for patients and better health systems.
Part of the selection process involved assessing ideas that would help to advance AHIMA’s mission and vision, said Julie A. Dooling, MSHI, RHIA, CHDA, FAHIMA, part of the five-member panel of judges who announced the winners.
Pitch Competition contestants were also evaluated based on:
- Clarity of problem: Ability to clearly articulate the problem including needs of stakeholders and deficiencies of current solutions
- Feasibility: Quality, feasibility and scalability of proposed solution or technology
- Differentiation: Differentiation of solution within the competitive landscape
- Team: Capability of participant to develop and execute solution
- Recognition: Extent to which partnership with AHIMA can advance solution.