IBR Highlights: Proskriptive Managing Director

By: Idaho Business Review

‘At the end of the day, who is responsible for your health?’

Michael Hollenbeck is the co-founder of the 10-month-old health care data technology company Proskriptive. The Boise company uses health care information from a range of sources to create tailored health strategy recommendations for populations and individuals.

Hollenbeck has spent most of his career working in the field of health care data, with a stint at ProClarity and then, after it was acquired, at Microsoft. He’s also worked at WhiteCloud Analytics in Boise and at Predixion Software, a predictive analytics software company based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Hollenbeck met Proskriptive co-founder, Justin Richie, while the two were earning online master’s degrees in predictive analytics from Northwestern University.

They started Proskriptive in April 2014, and the Minneapolis-based Richie moved to Boise in January. Proskriptive has eight employees now and Hollenbeck said he expects it to have 25 by this time next year.

Idaho Business Review spent some time learning about Hollenbeck and Proskriptive. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What does your company do?

We take the information from the doctors, from Medicaid, from the payers, and we have developed a wellness automation platform that looks at the patients at risk and profiles their need. And then we understand their desire or their activation to actually take care of themselves.

In the tech companies where I worked, we were really good at data aggregation, at presentation, but it was all retrospective. It is great to know what happened, but what you’re really trying to do is shape a more successful future.

That, ultimately, is what people want to know. For example, 6 percent of patients use about 60 percent of health care resources. Let’s say you have 1,000 patients. We’re trying to say, “What are you going to do to provide care progressively to keep people from becoming the 6 percent who use 60 percent of the health care costs?” We’re identifying who the 6 percent are, we’re identifying their activation levels in their own health, who is at risk. If somebody is very high risk and low activation on their health, that tells you a ton about how you need to outreach to them. If they’re very high risk, but very highly activated in their own care, that tells you a lot about how to outreach to them.

How can you tell how willing they are to take care of themselves?

That’s the magic of what we do. Claims data and clinical data is readily available. What’s not so readily available is the behavioral and psychological data. One of the things we’re doing in partnership with a local urgent care center is when people are admitted to the clinic, when they’re going to go see a doctor, we’re in the process of adding three additional questions to their intake form, in order to profile them from a behavioral level.

What are the questions?

For example, one is, “At the end of the day, who is responsible for your health? You, or your doctor?” If they say, “I am,” conceptually they take ownership for their own health. If they believe the doctor is responsible for their health, we know they’ve abdicated that care.

We take that information and develop engagement strategies. Our technology is going to tell us whether they’re engaging or not.

Are the HIPAA privacy laws an issue?

HIPAA is designed to keep that information out of inappropriate hands. It’s not designed to prevent that information from going into appropriate hands. So much of what we do is looking at the population, not an individual.

What problem are you solving?

There is a massive disconnect between what the very big technology companies produce and the way your rank-and-file people need to consume it. And there’s not always a lot of desire to bridge that gap.

We have this problem in spades in Idaho. We have a lot of people who are interested in improving the health care situation. You have your payers, and they create a partnership with Dr. Jones, the head of a primary care physician organization that sees 7,000 of the insurer’s patients. They say, “Dr. Jones, here are the reports we’re going to give you. Thwack! A 1,000-page Excel document lands on the desk, and Dr. Jones says, ‘What is that? That is Chinese to me.’”

This is a glass-half-full situation to me. It’s a little selfish, but I am like, “Wow, we have the right technology at the right place at the right time in history, with the right governmental and economic imperative behind it. And, by the way, if we do our jobs properly, and provide the right information, people literally don’t die.”

It’s not just helping insurers and providers. Part of what we’re doing is setting up systems to help employers manage their costs. If you have 100 people, 1,000 people, we help them understand really the risks of their employee population and what do to about that.

Where does Proskriptive have clients?

We have opportunities all over Indiana and we are about ready to do a gig in Nashville. Microsoft takes us all over the country; we’re being pitched to a large hospital system in New York.

In Idaho, we’re working with local providers and have opportunities with Idaho payers.

What have you learned from all this?

On a personal level, I was so much more passive about my own health previously. But when you really understand the way that the health care system works, you start to understand the importance of your own role in it. I am now much more diligent about understanding the pricing of health care. I am a huge advocate of price transparency.


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