A San Antonio-based health care data analytics startup is creating a specialty drug and patient outcome database connected to a real-time dashboard used by doctors across the country and plans to double in size by the end of the year.
PhyzData LLC, which has about 20 employees in San Antonio, expects to double its local workforce by the end of 2018. Across its entire workforce, the startup expects to have about 50 employees in the coming months. It is leasing about 18,000 square feet in an office building near Loop 1604 and Paesanos Parkway on the Northwest Side of San Antonio.
Co-founded in October 2016 by CEO Brock Rush and Chief Strategy Officer Jeremy Carr, PhyzData has had more than 100 rheumatologists beta testing its technology for the past several months and expects to reach out to oncologists, dermatologists and neurologists in the coming years. The startup is also working with several undisclosed large drug manufacturers.
PhyzData provides a free dashboard to specialist physicians where they can offload the insurance preauthorization process for pharmaceuticals, order drugs from network specialty pharmacies and track patient progress online. All of this is tied to an electronic health record system in the doctor’s office. The goal is to reduce administrative staff time for prescriptions.
“We’re pretty much an extension of their office,” Rush said. “We’ll talk to patients to make sure that they are using it. All of this is in our technology going back and forth to the physicians’ office. It keeps track of when the patient picked up their drug, if they are using it, if they like it. The technology is set up for the prescriptions to come through, and it reads every piece of that prescription, so it knows exactly what’s going on.”
Sometimes patients do not pick up their medicine because it is too expensive or the insurance co-pay ran out. That sort of information might never be reported, Rush said.
The software reads the prescription and adds it to the database, which is then stripped of identifying patient health information in alignment with HIPPA laws, then shared with pharmaceutical companies — PhyzData's paying customers — looking for data on the use of the drugs it has manufactured.
The traditional model of patient outcomes is typically through a university system, in which researchers find volunteers to participate in studies that are reported back to drug manufacturers. But that process often takes several years to complete. This is a more direct connection between the doctors’ data and the drug manufacturers.
“There’s a million different pharmacies and different drugs," each with a secure web portal, Rush said. "Our portal is one that captures all of that, all the pharmacies that doctor is using and every drug that they are prescribing."
The inspiration for PhyzData came while Rush was CEO at American Medical Direct Infusion and Specialty Pharmacy in San Antonio, which shipped across 32 states, he told the Business Journal.
“Good data is hard to get around prescribing habits and patient [treatment] abandonment rates,” Rush said. “These are high-end drugs, not like retail pills that you get at CVS. It’s more about infusions and injections. The pipeline is huge. There are always new biotech drugs.”
Infusion drugs can cost tens of thousands of dollars for one round of treatment because the products use biologic materials — like blood plasma — that is separated to the compounds required for the patient, like just the antibodies inside a donor’s blood.
Rush hired a chief information officer, who then brought together a software development team to build his vision.
“He put my brain on a screen. That’s how we got rolling,” he said.
PhyzData, like several of Rush’s previous startups, was bootstrapped. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission records show that the startup has raised at least $2 million.
“We just never had outside investors, just always invested in ourselves," Rush said. "You never know. If we want to scale this thing faster and we have potential customers that want to scale it, then we’ll look toward outside investors if we need to."