Health centralization platform 1upHealth wins government data challenge

By Laura Lovett

As the US government continues its push to make data more accessible and give patients control of their EHRs, private companies are stepping up hoping to fill the gap. 

Today Boston-based 1upHealth, a health data aggregation and centralization platform, was named one of the two phase 2 winners of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's “Oh the Places Data Goes: Health Data Provenance” Challenge. The other winner was healthcare software kit, Rain Live Oak Technology. 

1upHealth's goal is to streamline the workflow for providers and give developers a FHIR and API platform that can easily use patient data. The company also aims to give patients more agency over their data and the ability to share it with providers or developers. 

It could speed up the process of getting apps on the market. 

“Prior to this you would have an idea and realize ‘oh I need actual medical data,’ then you would have to go to a health system to get that access,” CEO and cofounder Ricky Sahu told MobiHealthNews at HIMSS18. “That process takes months or years. ... It just kills innovation for you. With the 1upHealth process all you need is patients and providers who want to use your app and have access to their data and a system that supports FHIR.”

Currently the platform supports 105 health systems, including some larger hospitals like Cedar-Sinai and Johns Hopkins Medicine. The platform lets patients and providers aggregate data from any of the supported health systems. 

Sahu said it can be particularly helpful for medicare patients whose records sometimes take months to get into a new system. The app is free for patients. When they want to send their data, they authorize the 1upHealth system to access their data. Then, that data is automatically synced from the health system to the 1upHealth patient app. 

“The long term goal is to build a platform that any patient- or provider-facing application can be hooked on,” Sahu said. “I think that will really enable scenarios that people hadn’t been able to build for especially since because it is now patient mediated access.”

Sahu and cofounder Gajen Suntha were both working in Washington DC before coming to Boston, where the pair began to develop the product. But they still have roots in DC — in fact, the startups advisor is Aneesh Chopra, former US chief technology officer in the Obama administration.

The cofounders have also competed in several government competitions that were opened to the public. In 2017 the company won three national awards from the ONC and HHS. That prize money has primarily funded the startup, along with an investment from Boston Children’s Hospital. 

“Ensuring provenance of data is an important step in achieving interoperability of health information,” Dr. Don Rucker, national coordinator for health information technology, said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing these winning submissions being implemented in electronic products that will allow for the secure, trustworthy, and reliable exchange of health information.”