Mana Health’s Ambitious Plans For Healthcare Data

Mana Health is pursuing one of the most ambitious approaches to the issue of integration and accessibility of individuals’ healthcare records. The company has developed its Patient Gateway, which, “features an intuitive experience based on graphical information tiles, allowing patients of any age to securely view and interact with their personal health information, on any device.” It also offers certain “personalization” features, based on the individual’s interests, language or need for notifications.

We spoke with Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Raj Amin, about Mana’s progress in the complex world of electronic health records (EHR). Their offering is a Java-based platform, which is offered from the cloud (they reside on Amazon’s AWS), but can also be deployed outside of the cloud. It is accessible from mobile devices. Currently it is a browser-based offering, but they will be creating native apps.

Mana attracted attention in 2013 being selected by the nonprofit New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), as winner of its Design Challenge for the Patient Portal for New Yorkers. The portal is being implemented and Amin states that the company is in the final stages of testing and integration, which could lead to a launch to consumers in the fall or shortly thereafter.

Mana followed this up with its selection in March 2014 as the provider of the patient data portal for Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA), the Health Information Exchange (HIE) for South Central Texas, covering 2 million residents. This portal should also launch in the near future.

A number of questions exist for Mana in this complex area of EHR. First there is the means of gathering patient data from a wide variety of sources into a single repository. Amin states, “This is one of the largest challenges.” The company must be able to gain access to and extract data from several basically siloed sources that have been created over the years by major healthcare data system providers. He points out that there is a lack of standards for the data.

The company is relying on state-sanctioned agencies, such as NYeC and HASA, which exist in most states to facilitate enablement of such portals. Mana, a 15-person company at this point, relies on direct sales to these bodies. As for the complexity of extracting the data, Amin notes, “We have a platform to plug into all the backends,” (of hospital and other data systems), adding, “it takes us weeks, not months, to create plug ins.”

Another question revolves around the usability of the information by the average patient, since patient records can include a large amount of data that may be difficult to understand. The company has put a lot of emphasis on its graphical information tile form of display, creating what it describes as a fairly “intuitive “ experience.

In addition, there is the potential for other involved parties, such as healthcare providers, family members and caregivers, to connect to and use the data. Amin states that they are definitely interested in this opportunity. He describes the data tools available to doctors as being largely at the “medieval level.”

This also leads to two other interesting aspects of the outlook for Mana. One that Amin mentions is the ability to gain understanding of the patient’s behavior and condition “outside the clinical setting.” This would presumably be based on Mana’s ability to integrate data from wearables and other devices used by the patient – an area which is definitely on Mana’s roadmap.

Secondly, Amin also states that “Data access is different from data insight” and that the company wants to “provide insight.” This suggests that Mana will also be developing or, at least, offering, analytical tools at some point that help speed up the ability to digest data and achieve diagnoses and recommended courses of treatment and action.

Thus the vision, the contemplated scope of Mana’s offerings, embraces a very far-reaching involvement in the healthcare information field, beyond merely being a repository of information from patient records (a substantial achievement by itself.) The business model by which this will all be accomplished is still a work in progress.

Amin states that, “We have been heads down on the early launches.” He notes that their cloud model lends itself to a SaaS business. Pricing might vary by the type of client. For an HIE, for example, they could charge based on the number of patient records they manage. For hospital systems, pricing might be based on the number of providers. In addition, they offer related services, front end training, and integration.

In any case, Amin asserts, a “massive transformation is coming in healthcare.” Today data is locked up in customized systems of the various healthcare software behemoths. But Amin points to developments such as the substantial investments coming into new categories, such as wearables; Blue Button (the government-sponsored movement to make health records available to patients that began with the VA); the many state-sponsored entities for creating unified patient data portals. He foresees a period of tremendous change and value creation in healthcare.

1 comment

  1. Charlene Ngamwajasat

    In helping to design the Mana portal & its thought framework early on, personalization was incredibly important because each patient is different. The design is meant to be easy to use & intuitive. I really pushed for the tile format because it works well on mobile, is very graphic (pictures easy to understand regardless of language/literacy), & it’s a nod to something familiar to people (apps on phones/Windows desktop). Besides the challenges mentioned above, I thinking getting people to try it out might be a challenge -esp at first. Then, maintaining interest & engagement.