Visit a new doctor and one of the first things you’ll be asked is for a medical history — often of both you and your family.
But family information isn’t always something you have at your fingertips. In an emergency, you may have to rely on a loved one to tell physicians what they need to know, such as the medications you’ve been taking and possible hereditary risks.
That’s where ICmed comes in. The Baltimore-based health startup has created a secure, cloud-based platform for users to enter their medical histories and share them with family members; users can then provide the family medical information to doctors as needed.
They can also get notifications about their relatives — such as when a parent’s medications have changed.
Despite a growing trend of consumers demanding easier access to their medical information, transferring patient data between doctors can still be a complicated and inconvenient process, said ICmed founder and CEO Anil Kshepakaran.
“The missing link is the patient,” he said, explaining that patients have the right to share their medical data with anyone they want.
They just need the means to do it quickly and easily.
While not a full personal health record, ICmed tracks a broad range of vital data and information about insurance and providers.
The first version of the platform launched more than two years ago; an updated version was released a few weeks ago for the web and Apple products, and the Android version is expected later this summer.
After self-funding for the past few years, ICmed is now looking to raise additional capital – less than $1 million, they say – from investors.
Origin of platform
Kshepakaran, who’s spent years as a software developer, told The Daily Record that the initial idea for the company emerged about five years ago after he observed his wife and her sisters collecting and sharing information about their medical histories and recent health events.
Since doctors want a family history to determine certain risks a patient may face, the sisters and their mother made sure they knew the answers. They collected the information in Word documents as their families grew and moved farther apart, he said.
Believing there should be an easier way, Kshepakaran launched ICmed – IC for “intelligent care.”
Users create their own profiles and histories, which can then be linked to the profiles of their family members.
But users don’t have to share all of their information with each family member: You might be comfortable sharing some data with your wife but not your mother-in-law, and an embarrassing injury need not be shared with anyone, Kshepakaran said.
The company’s app is free to download and use; revenue will be generated through a feature of the platform called TEA, for targeted education assistance. Sponsors will provide educational information – vetted by ICmed’s panel of clinical advisors — that will be pushed to users based on the information they share. But the sponsors themselves won’t have access to users’ private data.
Changing payment models for doctors and hospitals, which now often incentivize keeping patients healthy rather than charging them for more services and procedures, create an opportunity for both doctors and patients – and ICmed can assist both, said Chief Strategy Officer Michael McShea.
“Getting people more engaged in their health produces more positive outcomes,” he said, explaining that as patients get healthier, physician practices can increase their revenue. “Everybody wins.”