Protenus – An Immune System for Medical Records

Over the last decade federal and state governments, insurance companies and other large medical institutions have been strongly promoting the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR).  In 2009, EMR’s were effectively mandated when the federal government included a formula of both incentives and penalties for Medicare & Medicaid reimbursements to doctors who failed to use EMRs by 2015.

What has transpired since then has been a sea change of digitization within healthcare.  Healthcare systems across the country now have spent billions of dollars rolling out massive enterprise-wide electronic medical record systems.  This adoption has led to a stampede of implementations for market leaders like Epic and Cerner.  Lost in the dust of this stampede has been that fact that healthcare records by their nature need to be easily accessible by care providers during the course of their work day.  Because healthcare providers often make in-the-moment decisions at the point of care, they need fluid access to these records 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. 

This presents a couple of key problems.  Because access is incredibly important for efficient and effective care delivery, it inherently places providers in a catch-22 situation as the unfettered access by healthcare employees to all patient records raises significant privacy concerns. These patient privacy concerns have slowed the adoption and effectiveness of EMR’s, and particularly the exchange of healthcare records between different providers, software systems, and healthcare information exchanges.

Although providers are aware of the potential patient privacy risks, managing those risks has been extremely difficult.  System networks that house patient data have had significant investment to ward off external network threats.  However, internal approved access provides ample opportunity for nefarious activities – especially when over 5.5M people are employed by hospitals in the US alone.  Medical records are known to have significant value on the black market for Medicare & Medicaid fraud.  No one knows for sure, but estimates place annual healthcare fraud between $80-$270 billion and patient records are needed in every case of fraudulent reimbursement.  This nefarious activity can lead to other problems such as in the recent case of actor Charlie Sheen’s medical records used as blackmail against him. 

So it was a simple question surmised from this very complex problem that two former medical students decided to address – how do we ensure trust in healthcare?  Their solution is Protenus.

Protenus is a software security solution for patient data that identifies when medical records are accessed inappropriately.  The solution gives health systems the ability to deeply understand how and why medical records are accessed in real-time, and whether or not there is a legitimate reason to access a given patient’s medical or financial information.  Protenus does this without adding any additional burden on the caregiver or the compliance staff.

We are extremely excited to welcome Robert Lord, Nick Culbertson, and the entire Protenus team to the Arthur Ventures family.  Nick and Robert both have tremendous backgrounds and they share a very important vision to ensure trust in healthcare.  Today, Protenus is securing patient records at some of the world’s leading healthcare institutions and they’ve assembled an amazingly talented team that is motivated by solving this incredibly important problem.  We are thrilled to join Protenus on this journey, please learn more about our recently announced partnership here.