Digital Health Age: How a Data Gathering Service Aims to Make People Health Champions

Digital Health Age: How a Data Gathering Service Aims to Make People Health Champions


Ian Bolland spoke to Terrence Ryan, CEO and founder of HealthChampion. The company looks to gather health data from apps, medical devices and wearables, and give consumers tools to use their EHRs to monitor, manage and optimise their health.  

Tell us about HealthChampion. Where did the idea come from?

I have spent a few decades building companies and solutions around health data. The idea for HealthChampion came out of my realisation that the huge issues plaguing the healthcare system can only be solved when we put the consumer back at the centre of the equation. The more I dug into this, the more I realised that no-one has come close to solving the problem. Despite all the marketing material out there that suggests otherwise, very few healthcare companies are actually focused on the consumer or the patient. At the same time, laws like FHIR (HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) were being passed to empower and protect consumers’ health data, while smartphones, wearables and other technology were digitising health. Beyond that, nearly everyone I talk to has a personal anecdote to share about their own frustrations with the way the health system is currently structured. I saw the convergence of these elements as a clear signal that the market was ripe for a company like HealthChampion.

Do you need access to various databases in order to gather the health data you require?

Absolutely. We are currently in the process of integrating with other digital health disruptors and will probably be integrated with around 20 core digital health systems.

Are there any security challenges you have faced?

No. I’ve led many companies that have had to meet rigorous security standards like HIPAA and HITRUST protocol, and can say that this is one of the benefits of starting a company right now. As a young, nimble company, we are unencumbered with the legacy systems and tools that are more vulnerable to hackers. Five years ago we might have faced more security challenges, but it is to our advantage that the major cloud providers have compliance built in.

Tell us about becoming HIPAA compliant – what safeguards, if any, had to be put in place?

We take data protection and compliance very seriously at HealthChampion. To receive the HIPAA Seal of Compliance, we brought in a consultant who led us through an exhaustive internal audit. We have a full-time security officer and every one of our staff members — from IT to marketing — has gone through extensive HIPAA compliance training. Again, the times are in our favour: becoming HIPAA compliant used to be a much more onerous burden. The industry has a much better understanding of it today than when it was first introduced ten years ago.

Ultimately, we consider HIPAA to be only one part of the multi-layered protection your data needs to be truly private and secure. We also apply HITRUST protocols and advanced security technology, and our dedicated personnel ensure that your health data is protected every step of the way.

You say ‘app users deserve to know how their data is being used’ – how does HealthChampion use their data?

We have made a concerted effort to state our terms and conditions in clear and plain English. HealthChampion returns full control and ownership of all a user’s health and wellness data to them in a form that is portable and secure. We will also use that data to provide custom insights to help people manage their data for better health.

How do you think health data will continue to be used in the future?

I am immensely optimistic about the vast opportunities technology will afford us in healthcare. I believe we are moving toward a future in which health data is exchanged securely and used for good. I see a world in which people are empowered to be proactive about their health, rather than reactive — only doing something when they have a health problem. I think we’ll get to a point where people will be able to easily opt in to donate their health data to researchers and organisations trying to solve for global diseases. AI and bot-driven solutions will allow us to truly optimise our health.

Read the full article here.


Crain’s Chicago Business: Notable Entrepreneurs

Crain’s Chicago Business: Notable Entrepreneurs

Crain’s Chicago released their 2019 Notable Entrepreneurs list, which includes the top 44 business people who have identified needs and opportunities in the market, organized and run companies, and taken on greater than normal financial risks. Terry Ryan, founder and CEO of HealthChampion, was named a notable entrepreneur on the Crain’s top 44 business people list.  

Terry Ryan was frustrated at the lengths he had to go to in order to obtain his health records. Being the entrepreneur that he his, he created HealthChampion to make it easier for consumers to obtain their health records. 

Crain’s Chicago staff took time for a deeper dive with Terry, as the featured nominee. Read more about his thoughts below.

‘You need younger, unencumbered talent’

Terrence Ryan leads HealthChampion, a startup that aims to help consumers access their electronic health records and consolidate data on a single platform. It provides tools that will enable consumers to be proactive about wellness, such as reminders to work out. Users can share their data and track the health of children and elder parents. Ryan is a serial entrepreneur, having started a number of companies including consultancy Knightsbridge Solutions, which he sold to Hewlett-Packard.

CRAIN’S: How did you get the idea for HealthChampion?
RYAN: I find the blank white space very enjoyable. I looked at what was going on in the industry, and it challenged me to understand why the consumer wasn’t the center of the equation.

How will the venture make money?
From providers, who will be able to get access to a patient’s historical data before that patient walks in the door. Afterward, they can see how a patient is doing. Is she going to physical therapy, taking her meds?

What’s the hardest part?
It’s in front of us. Patients have the legal right to request their data, but they can still be refused. Providers may claim they are protecting patient privacy, but they’re looking out for themselves. We need to break down that barrier.

How will you reach your consumer audience?
There’s a world of social media tools. Tweets get to 40 million people at no cost. Compare that to the $200,000 marketing campaign of the past. You have to surround yourself with the people that understand social media and can make sure we’re positioned on these platforms in the right way.

What lessons from your previous entrepreneurial experiences have you been able to apply?
I know how to build a company, where and when you take risk and roll the dice. Beyond that, I’ve reflected on past companies I built that were good, but maybe weren’t great. How do we do it differently? You need younger, unencumbered talent that understands the latest in product development as well as sales and marketing.

How do you see Chicago as a center for entrepreneurship?
The incubators have too many people together that are too alike, at a similar stage. They’re trying to incubate through a network rather than using the resources of people who have done it before. Incubators need to do a better job attracting credentialed people. When I look to raise institutional capital, the people on both coasts are at a higher level of thinking and expertise. But Chicago people are salt of the earth. You get a straight answer.



Business Insider: Nick Biernat on Cybersecurity in Healthcare

Business Insider: Nick Biernat on Cybersecurity in Healthcare

Nick Biernat, Manager of Information Services and Compliance of HealthChampion recently shared his insights with Business Insider Intelligence. Here’s what the pros are saying:

Nick B Business insider



What’s the biggest contributor to the poor state of cybersecurity in healthcare? 

Currently the biggest contributor to the poor state of cybersecurity in healthcare is a lack of awareness and training. According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report phishing and financial pretexting — obtaining financial information under false pretenses — represented 93 percent of all breaches investigated by Verizon, with email being the main entry point at 96%.

Well over 90% of successful attacks against healthcare providers involve exploiting people in some form to reveal sensitive information, and therefore the most effective way of preventing an attack is to invest in a comprehensive and periodic training program for staff. The days of disgruntled high school kids playing pranks are gone and online criminals are sophisticated and well equipped.

What, if anything, can healthcare stakeholders do to boost their organizations’ cybersecurity efforts?

Many online attacks begin with automation, that is, a smart bot or computer running a series of commands to attack systems via various means such as email and web. Enabling Multi-factor authentication for all user accounts is hands down the cheapest, quickest and most simple way to immediately decimate a criminal’s chances of exploiting healthcare systems. Multi-factor authentication – or MFA for short – requires a user to have username and password (something they know) paired with a separate authentication code that is sent to their mobile device. By forcing users to approve each sign-on, an attacker who successfully steals usernames and passwords has them rendered useless. According to Microsoft’s Security Blog 99.9% of attacks can be prevented using MFA.






Business Insider: Terrence M. Ryan on the Digital Boom and Healthcare

Business Insider: Terrence M. Ryan on the Digital Boom and Healthcare

WisconsinInno Spotlights HealthChampion Launch

WisconsinInno Spotlights HealthChampion Launch

Terrence Ryan believes accessing personal health data should be as easy as accessing your credit score.

As published in WisconsinInno:

For anyone who has struggled to obtain their healthcare records from various physicians, specialists, hospitals and insurance companies, it sounds like a lofty proposition. But for Ryan, the skepticism is just further proof of how much consumers have grown accustomed to a broken system — and now, he’s ready to flip the model.

The serial entrepreneur is the CEO behind HealthChampion, a Chicago-based app that allows users to gather health data from all of their providers into one centralized and secure location, giving users back their ownership over personal medical records.

The startup officially opened a Milwaukee office last month, where it employs 20 people. HealthChampion has raised more than $3 million in seed funding, and said it expects to double its workforce in 2019.

“HealthChampion is a platform that is trying to empower people-driven healthcare,” says Ryan, adding that the current healthcare system, while well intentioned, often places business, efficiency and profits ahead of patients or transparency. “We all have stories of how we’re not in control of our own healthcare, and how difficult it is to manage. Through information and technology, we make you in charge of your health.”

Empowering personal health decisions also holds personal meaning for Ryan. Before launching HealthChampion, he says he experienced his own frustrations within the complex healthcare system. After receiving an MRI in 2017, Ryan struggled to find out whether his test results had been received and read by his physician. When he expressed his concerns at the doctor’s office, he was waved off by an administrator.

Unlike most patients who would go home and grumble, Ryan decided to embark on a three-month experiment to gain a better understanding of the travails of healthcare consumers instead; he dropped his family from an employer-based insurance plan and became a cash-paying consumer to see what unfolded. It wasn’t pleasant.

“I had made every effort to be more personally accountable about my healthcare costs and options and repeatedly found the system in its current state makes that nearly impossible,” he wrote of the experience on his website.

It was a dramatic exercise to be sure, but the experience was eye-opening enough to serve as the impetus for his new business.

“In today’s world, you are subservient to everybody else who thinks they know your health better than they do,” explained Ryan. “Can we give ourselves enough information to make a better healthcare decision? [With HealthChampion] we can look at everything from how to get healthier, to who you get your healthcare from, to who you share your healthcare data with.”

In addition to putting people back in charge of their health data, Ryan says HealthChampion will give users the opportunity to leverage the data to manage their health outcomes. Each user will be assigned a health score — similar to a FICO number — with actionable insights to improve their health. All of the information is presented in an easy-to-understand dashboard.

Consumers won’t have to worry about inputting their records into the app, either. HealthChampion collects the data on behalf of its users. And while children may have 100 percent of their records stored in an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system already, Ryan says most adult records are only partially digitized. That can make accessing the records a bit tricky — which makes its service more valuable to consumers.

“A doctor has a tenth of your health data,” Ryan says. “It’s our job to go to these folks, but how they are set up … they don’t always make it easy for us to do what we’re doing. We’re either going to go through them, or around them.”

For now, Ryan is focused on building a platform that goes beyond data collection by combining technology, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, with the ultimate goal of driving precision medicine.

In the future, Ryan says the HealthChampion app could allow a rural patient to have a telemedicine consult with a doctor, or facilitate medical payments, all through a smartphone.

“We’re reshaping our healthcare ecosystem,” Ryan said. “We go and do the hard work, and over time we will be able to bring in more and more data. You don’t have to be a proactively healthy person to enjoy what the app is going to do, but you’ll be impressed when you can bring all that data together.”

Consumer Health Startup Opens Milwaukee Office

Consumer Health Startup Opens Milwaukee Office

HealthChampion Consolidates Patient Records

HealthChampion, a Chicago-based consumer health startup, has opened an office at 234 Florida St. in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood.

The 4,000-square-foot office currently houses 20 employees, and the company plans to hire another 20 Milwaukee employees this year, said Terrence Ryan, chief executive officer and founding partner of HealthChampion. It has about 10 employees in Chicago.

Established in 2018, HealthChampion has developed a software platform to consolidate all of a patient’s health records in one spot. Its app also encourages healthy behaviors via gamification. Ryan likened it to getting a health score as easily as a credit score.

“We believe the person has to become in charge of their health care,” he said. “You have the information to make your decisions and your destiny, where you want to take your health care, clear.”

Ryan said he didn’t initially plan to open a Milwaukee office, but found the technical talent he was seeking here.

“It was the interconnectivity, it was the Midwest, and it was, ‘Wow, there are a lot of people in Milwaukee that have passion and skills in this area,’” he said. “I think Milwaukee has got a lot to show off, especially with Fiserv and all the downtown stuff going on. It’s pretty amazing how far Milwaukee’s come.”

But Ryan hasn’t considered moving HealthChampion’s headquarters here because there isn’t enough access to capital, he said.

Even in Chicago, it’s difficult “to get attention, to get backing, and where does that come from? It comes from the coasts,” he said.

A tech startup veteran, Ryan has previously raised a total of $50 million from coastal investors out of Chicago, he said. A former worldwide director of information management at HP, Ryan previously was chief executive officer of Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based LaunchPoint Corp., and earlier co-founded Chicago-based Knightsbridge Solutions LLC.

As published in Biz Times Milwaukee:


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