Mayo Clinic spin-off raises $1.1M for mobile data management tools

By Jonah Comstock
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ambientRochester, Minnesota-based Ambient Clinical Analytics, a startup that will soon begin selling mobile hospital data management tools developed at the Mayo Clinic, has raised $1.1 million from the Social+Capital Partnership, Rock Health, and the Mayo Clinic itself.

"Fifteen to 20 years ago, the medical technology world was swept by analytics-based business intelligence and process intelligence systems. They were referred to as bolt-ons to the large enterprise systems," CEO Al Berning told MobiHealthNews. "I saw almost exact parallels to the market within [clinical systems], in that most hospitals have large EMR systems. We don't compete with EMR systems, we work to make that data more useful. I believe that same opportunity exists in medical, where you have massive amounts of data but not a lot of tools to sort through that data, using algorithms to make it more useful."

Ambient will market three software platforms developed and tested by Mayo Clinic physicians, all of which are designed to make it easier for doctors to extract the information they need for a particular patient at a particular time from their hospitals' information systems. The first is called AWARE, which stands for Ambient Warning and Response Evaluation. It's an interface for EMR data that prioritizes and organizes a patient's medical information in three ways: by organ, chronologically as a timeline, or as a customized checklist that displays only the next steps relevant to that case.

"Being able to combine the massive amounts of EMR data with lab data and monitor data and integrate it all into a concise viewer that sorts and provides the information that's needed at that time for that patient is novel," Berning said. "Throughout the industry, clinicians have adopted it and published research and done conferences throughout the world and gotten feedback from their peers that there's nothing out there that does that combination."

Another product, called YES Board, is a patient tracking tool for emergency departments. The system, which has been used at Mayo for about five years, allows all staff members in the emergency department to monitor the location and status of all patients from monitor screens throughout the department.

"Every staff member at a glance can see exactly where each patient is, tracking them from the waiting room into various segments throughout the emergency department," Berning said. "Instead of the doctor poking their head in every 15 minutes asking 'Is the suture kit here yet?', as they're walking down the hall, they can see Katie's suture kit hasn't arrived yet."

The final tool, called Synthesis, is a mobile viewer for both AWARE and YES Board, allowing doctors to access the same information from their iPads or iPhones.

Berning said Ambient will use the funds for three things: Hiring a sales staff to start marketing the technology, applying for FDA 510(k) clearance for AWARE, and further refining and enhancing the products. Up until now, Mayo Clinic has been using AWARE under a research exception, but Ambient will require clearance as a Class 2 device in order to market it.

Via a CMS grant, Mayo Clinic has already deployed some of the tools to three other hospitals outside of the Rochester, Minnesota Mayo Clinic site where the technology was developed, including hospitals in Massachusetts and Ohio.