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Startup Central: Five Questions for Noble.MD

Theo on the iPad

Theo's interface

Instead of flipping through year-old magazines next time you’re waiting in a doctor’s exam room, imagine using that time (an average of 22 minutes) to enter important medical information on an iPad. Imagine how that could make the average nine-minute doctor/patient encounter more productive for both parties. Real-time information could improve your care, speed your insurance claim and free up your provider to focus more on screening and treatment.
Noble.MD, a healthcare IT startup located at the University City Science Center’s Innovation Center @3401, has developed a technology platform that does all that. Their goal is to improve outcomes for patients and create efficiencies for medical providers.
We asked Meg Steinmetz, chief program officer at Noble, five key questions about this growing company.
What is your big idea?

The average U.S. primary care physician (PCP) has a patient panel of 3,500 patients. With all the requirements and recommendations of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and Medicare, it would take the average PCP 21.7 hours per day to provide all recommended risk screening and care. As a result, 50 percent of health risks are never identified and coded, including chronic conditions. 
Our team designed a product called Theo to gather information from patients about their health risks on an iPad while they're in the doctor’s exam room. Theo then offers useful information about their health in an interactive manner that is simple and easy to understand. Theo turns the exam-room waiting time into fun, productive time for the patient and provides valuable information to the doctor that is otherwise often missed.
What is your origin story?

Our CEO Todd Johnson and his wife Bindi Shah-Johnson -- both trained physicians -- experienced a health crisis with their daughter in the first days of her life. While sitting in an exam room, these two doctors and new parents experienced firsthand how lack of knowledge and communication lead to fear and confusion, which often leads to inaction or poor choices.

Experiencing what average patients go through every day in our incredibly complex health system inspired them to change that for people everywhere.
What is your timeline?

Theo is now three years old and in version 2.0. Theo is being used by over 150 physicians in nine states and has interacted with over 50,000 patients in the past year. We are measuring improvement in patient outcomes as a direct result of using Theo. Our next step? Partnering with a major health plan.
Why does the marketplace need your company?

With healthcare coverage now available to all Americans, healthcare providers and health plans need a faster, more efficient way to identify patient health risks, manage those risks and get patients engaged in their own care. Theo helps our clients to understand the health risks of their patients in real time and manage them immediately. Our clients range from individual clinicians to accountable care organizations, academic hospitals and health systems.
What is your elevator speech?

Doctors and nurses today simply do not have the time to spend with every patient to screen for every health risk, yet under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act and the Accountable Care Movement, they need to do just that. Theo makes it easy for providers and health plans to learn more about their patients’ health risks and lifestyles, and for patients to learn more about how they can manage their health and better their lives.
Source: Meg Steinmetz, Noble.MD

Writer: Elise Vider

WRITER IN RESIDENCE is a partnership between the University City Science Center and Flying Kite Media that embeds a reporter on-site at 3711 Market Street. The resulting coverage will provide an inside look at the most intriguing companies, discoveries and technological innovations coming out of this essential Philadelphia institution.
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