Interview with Medable’s CEO Dr. Michelle Longmire

Medable - Michelle Longmire

Our latest interviewee is Dr. Michelle Longmire, CEO of Palo Alto-based Medable, where he managed to assemble an elite team: the company’s CTO worked for, Vice President of Research is a well-known cancer epidemiologist, while Medable’s engineering team has worked at some of the best software companies in the world. Also, the firm’s advisors hold senior positions at leading companies, hospitals and medical institutions.

With such great team in place, Dr. Michelle says Medable can understand medicine, science, healthcare, and software. The company was started because there was a need for an empowering health platform… Here’s what she had to say…

How would you pitch your company? What’s your elevator pitch?

Medable is the platform for healthcare. The company started with an API for automating health app development so apps can meet HIPAA regulations, which are U.S. federal privacy regulations. Medable has since expanded into a complete cloud-hosted platform for healthcare that caters to the healthcare sector’s strict compliance and privacy concerns across the globe.

Medable’s customers include pharma companies, device makers, research institutions, payers, and startups. Given that much of the growth in mHealth will be outside the United States (Europe is forecasted as the largest mHealth market), developers will need to adhere to U.S. (HIPAA) and European Commission (GDPR) regulations, and other standards, to avoid fines and create truly global solutions in the highly regulated healthcare market.

Medable is the end-to-end solution that allows developers to create patient-facing, interoperable, and HIPAA-compliant apps and other solutions.

We’re very idealistic. We want to change the world for the better. We believe digital health solutions can lead to better healthcare worldwide.

What sets you apart from competitors?

We have some solid competitors, which we welcome, but they tend to have partial solutions. We provide the most complete end-to-end platform, and we have the richest feature set on the market: our platform includes HIPAA compliance, HL-7 integration, FDA reporting, security audit reports, data analytics and visualization, object storage, video support, Android and iOS SDK, load balancing and more. We’re not a niche provider for one-off health apps — we provide a platform so pharma, startups, research institutions, and payers can use to grow their mHealth offerings. Our platform enables companies and research institutions to grow their digital health business while removing risk across their organizations.

What’s your business model?

Medable’s business model is platform as a service (PaaS). Our customers buy subscription licensing on an annual contract. Medable offers competitive pricing for a variety of companies, from startups to large enterprise healthcare companies. We have found that our customers prefer a PaaS model for developing healthcare solutions. PaaS allows customers to develop, run, and manage applications without the challenges of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app. With our business model, customers can reduce IT support costs and mitigate risk across an entire organization. We provide the tools to build and deploy compliant health apps and other mobile solutions. After the app is built, the complete solution — the app, the data, the data on the client, the data in transient — rests on the Medable platform. Along with mitigating security risks, offloading compliance requirements, and providing an end-to-end platform, we include other features, such as real-time data visualization tools as part of our business model.

Medable - backend

Can you share some numbers? How many users do you have?

We are growing rapidly. It’s pretty well known that we have had successful venture funding. We’re a private company, and we don’t release sales numbers, but we can name some of our customers: Biovotion, The Pip, The Pill Club, The Zero Card. We are working with numerous other clients who are leaders in their respective fields, across many different verticals. Because we give our customers such a big competitive advantage, many of them currently want us to be stealth about announcing our relationship. As our customers roll out their solutions, we will talk more about them.

Where do you see the company going from here?

The health app market is growing, and we are matching the growth figures in our business. We see mHealth as a global business. For example, pharma companies in the United States and Europe are global enterprises. They want to go “beyond the pill” and beyond the borders of the United States and Europe.

To create global health apps, a company needs to understand the myriad of global privacy and other regulations. Companies worldwide are coming to Medable to be their global healthcare platform. In pharma, for example, a failure to follow prescriptions causes 125,000 deaths a year and up to 10% of all hospitalizations. Pharma wants to help solve this serious issue, and they are looking to our expertise to help them. We provide software tools so companies can focus on their core business. If a company went out and tried to create a platform on its own, it would take a large engineering team and years of development work.

Creating a comprehensive platform that keeps pace with regulations and continually adds features is not in most companies’ business models. Medable allows developers to do what they do best: create solutions for their particular industry.

As we grow, we have created a Partner Program. We are currently looking for existing healthcare software developers with a need for HIPAA compliant backend solutions, and partners with established sales teams who need help selling apps powered by Medable.

Where do you see the mHealth industry going?

It’s growing, and growing in interesting ways. Each vertical market has its own needs. For example, research organizations want apps that have analytics that help in research studies. And startups need HIPAA compliance, and they have serious cost and time considerations — they want to use a single SDK to create an app and make sure it meets legal criteria and other needs.

Health apps and other digital solutions must be interoperable with the EMR, patient-facing, and clinically-tested to have true success. Device makers, wearable companies, research institutions, payers, pharma, and startups have realized that they must meet these needs. With the proper platform, these are very achievable goals.

As more and more companies enter the mHealth market, we expect huge growth. A decade ago there was a lot of talk about “electronic banking,” and now using the computer for finances is common place. We expect over the next decade that “mHealth” will become synonymous with “health.” There is a desire to use digital tools.

Nearly 90% of physicians report that they would recommend a mobile app to their patient but only 30% have done so. They are reluctant because the apps need to work in the healthcare setting — they need to be clinically tested, they need to be interoperable, they need to connect to the EMR, they need to be on iOS and Android, they need data visualization and analytics, they need HIPAA compliance, and they need to be secure. Companies and research institutions are using our platform to accomplish all that.

We also see other technologies quickly entering the health technology market, such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Care. We are tracking these technologies, and forging partnerships so we can continue to grow with our clients’ needs. For example, we are a founding member of USC’s Virtual Care Clinic, and we are creating offerings that expand our platform to help companies and research institutions more easily enter developing health tech markets. We are here to create a technology platform to help facilitate the business needs and creativity of our clients.

How long are we from seeing modern mHealth technologies going mainstream?

We are already seeing it. mHealth will take some time for adoption because healthcare is complex. Of course, health technology isn’t finance, media, retail, or transportation, which were fundamentally changed in the last decade by disruptive digital technology models. Healthcare technology has many more barriers because of existing institutional technology and important rules to protect people. It is moving in fits and starts but healthcare is going through a major disruption.