Sansoro raises $1.2M to beat FHIR to the punch on EHR, digital health integration

By Jonah Comstock
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Minneapolis-based Sansoro Health, a health IT firm focused on interoperability that offers, among other things, software to integrate digital health tools with electronic health records, has raised $1.2 million in a round led by Healthy Ventures. The raise included backing from Treehouse Ventures and undisclosed angels. Healthy Ventures is an investor that works exclusively with health tech companies including HealthCrowd and PokitDok.

“We are proud to have the support of investors like Healthy Ventures who share our vision for EMR integration,” CEO Jeremy Edes Pierotti, said in a statement. “We’ve had strong revenue since inception, which enabled us to bootstrap our development. This funding will allow us to further empower innovation by providers, payers, and digital health pioneers.”

Sansoro plans to use the funding to expand its team and marketing efforts for Emissary, a middleware product that hospitals can use to connect third party software -- including mobile apps and patient portals -- to EHRs. 

"Modern RESTful APIs are the way much of the rest of the world is communicating and collaborating," Sansoro Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dave Levin and former Cleveland Clinic CMIO wrote in a blog post in January. "Built using robust tools, methods, and technology that is widely recognized outside of healthcare, modern organizations have adopted approaches that make it easy to 'show up and plug in.' Emissary, Sansoro’s middleware product, is an example of the power of this approach when applied to healthcare. Using Emissary, healthcare IT systems communicate using universal APIs and normalized data structures. The complexity of the underlying EMR software is hidden, while the rich power of the data is exposed in ways that are easily accessed in real time. Installation takes hours or days instead of the weeks-to-months timeframe of traditional EMR implementation."

EHR interoperability is a big concern of the industry, and is being addressed to varying degrees by HL7 and FHIR standards. But, in a support document on its webite, Sansoro argues that its offering goes deeper than HL7 by interfacing with the EHR at the level of its core data services.

"Other API companies rely solely on HL7 and/or the vendor’s limited public APIs to feed and persist data in their own database – so their APIs are accessing a replicated data store that has only a limited subset of EMR data," the company writes. "Emissary offers 3rd party vendors and health systems a more elegant solution that gets them out of the business of making 'copies' of EMR data that can never be real-time and are always 'out of sync.' And, since Emissary does not persist any EMR data, data security and privacy concerns are greatly reduced."

While FHIR will have some similar functionality when it's available, Emissary is available now and boasts capabilities FHIR won't have, the document goes on to say.

"Emissary complements and extends HL7 FHIR," the support document says. "To define a standard is one thing. To make the standard work directly against an EMR system is a whole separate effort. When HL7 FHIR standards are closer to final, then Emissary will incorporate the HL7 FHIR standard. In the meantime, Emissary offers -- now -- a set of usable APIs that is much broader than the use cases HL7 FHIR supports."