As the cost of medical treatment continues to increase, many startups are exploring how they can deliver comparable care at a fraction of the price. Among these is Rexuti, a software-based online platform that promises to lessen the burden on traditional healthcare systems by cheaply diagnosing common ailments through algorithms, questionnaires, and remote practitioners.
“In some ways what we’re doing is simple, sort of like inventing pizza delivery for medicine, and I think in some ways what we’ve done is really worth a lot of attention because we’ve reinvented the medical transaction between the medical provider and patient,” Rexuti CEO Joel Freimuth told MobiHealthNews, “These are conditions [where] there is a lot of good with treating them quickly. With any bacterial infection, if you can get to treatment faster then you might not have a full-blown condition. But these are issues that are so well known that you can treat them at scale.”
Rexuti’s service, which Freimuth said is set to launch in early 2018, allows patients to receive a diagnosis, prescription, or other care protocols and follow-up care without needing to directly interact with a doctor. Through a web browser or the mobile app, users answer a series of algorithm-selected questions about their health that are then reviewed by a practitioner, who will administer the final diagnosis and prescribe additional care. Users will also receive a follow-up survey 24 hours after using the service to monitor the progression of their symptoms and allow Rexuti’s further ensure an accurate diagnosis.
“The answer to your previous question will influence what the algorithms choose for your next question, so that we are moving towards confirming a diagnosis,” Freimuth explained. “So if you come to us saying ‘I think I have a urinary tract infection,’ for example, we’re going to ask you questions. Some of them may be a little personal, but then we can start to differentiate between if it is a urinary tract infection or is it a sexually transmitted disease that often masks itself as a urinary tract infection.”
Rexuti’s system makes these diagnoses within 10 minutes and, so far, does so at a 84 percent rate of accuracy, which Freimuth notes is higher than what’s reported in traditional medicine. While both of these stand as clear advantages, he admitted that it comes at the cost of treating more complex conditions.
“[Our system] obviously limits what we treat,” he said. “When you think of traditional medicine, walking into a doctor’s office, that doctor can diagnose you with anything. If you think about telemedicine where there’s still direct interaction, then that’s a subset of conditions from traditional medicine but it’s still a pretty wide set. We’ve identified about 100 conditions that we can treat. We’re launching with four of them, but those are high-volume conditions … that clog waiting rooms but are treated empirically.”
The ability to reduce health system burden at a low cost are Rexuti’s primary selling points. Because the company’s on-staff practitioners do not need to have face-to-face interactions with patients (except for in certain states that require it, such as Ohio), Freimuth said that each is able to treat more than 30,000 patients yearly. Further, it reduces the cost of each encounter to less than $10, as opposed to the hundreds or thousands that a provider would normally expend providing care.
With these benefits in mind, the company’s business model has so far primarily focused on working with providers, but recently expanded its scope to consumers themselves on a per-service basis. While the company is currently set to launch in five states and aims to expand to 26 by the end of 2018, Freimuth said that Rexuti is still eyeing new opportunities, including partnerships with health insurers and integration of voice recognition technologies for its questionnaires.
“The first stage is obviously build the product, prove that it works,” he said. “The second stage is how we add features to make the medical outcome even more potent, even better, and one of the ways is language. So we are in the beginning stages of working with linguistic anthropologists. And being able to differentiate between Spanish on the south side of Chicago and Little Haiti in Miami … can get a person comfortable with our software.”