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Venture Partner Profile: Joe O’Connor

“In healthcare today, the amount of data available is enormous and growing and we now have the ability to store, analyze and share data to improve the care experience and outcomes for patients and reduce costs in the system,” according to Converge Venture Partner Joe O’Connor, one of our resident experts on health-care IT. Joe has spent his career exploring the role of information science and its ability to improve the lives of patients and a challenging health care system.

As a co-founder of Remedy Partners, a bundled payments company and a director at N-of-One, a molecular decision support company, Joe feels passionately about the space. The multi-billion dollar US health care system is rapidly transforming from “fee for service” where health care providers are compensated based on the volume of services they deliver, towards “value based” payment models, where providers are compensated based on value “quality data becomes imperative to inform, measure, monitor, and report in this complex new paradigm”, explains Joe.

Joe’s interest in the area began as a consultant to health plans and later as the Corporate Director of Medical Economics at Healthsource, Inc., a health plan headquartered in NH with locations throughout the east coast. At Healthsource, Joe and his team supported what were at the time innovative payment models through the use of sophisticated analytics and performance management tools.

As a result of this immersion in health data, Joe was motivated to get his second masters in Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth Medical School which he pursued while working full-time at Healthsource and completed after launching his own healthcare analytics company, Integrated Healthcare Information Service (IHCIS). Integrated Healthcare served both health plans and providers and focused on predictive analytics, reporting, and performance measurement. “Healthcare data is siloed and it’s hard to get solid clinical and financial information across the continuum of care; with the digitization of electronic medical records data and more efforts to integrate data – opportunities are arising to connect disparate data sources and apply analytic tools useful in transforming delivery systems. We can evaluate performance, support high value providers, and get the information out to stakeholders to make better decisions for care. “ Predictive analytics combined with work flow alerts and notifications allow for the identification of patients at risk before a health event, potentially avoiding a costly hospitalization.” In this way, patient, doctors, and health plans all win.

Joe sold his analytics company to UnitedHealth Group in 2005 and led his company and other products while at United until 2008. As a successful entrepreneur, was he bittersweet about exiting? “I remain passionate about the many wonderful opportunities to enhance our healthcare system and would like to be a part of the solution. We know better information and decision making can improve outcomes. And that is worth doing. It is an exciting and interesting time to be working in healthcare and I’m looking forward to learning and contributing by working with some of the great entrepreneurs in our space.

A Venture Partner since 2010, Joe became intrigued by our new portfolio company, CarePort Health earlier this year. He was impressed by founder & CEO Lissy Hu’s energy and knowledge, her strong background (Harvard MD & MBA), and the progress she has made on an important problem.

CarePort focuses on “post acute care” – e.g. services such as rehab facilities, nursing homes, and home health care once a patient is released from the hospital-which can be improved by providing better information to patients and their families and caregivers. Joe notes that even at the best hospitals, patients often have to select post-acure care providers based on limited information despite the widely recognized variations in cost, quality and outcomes. With CarePort software, patients and their families can make better decisions matching their needs with the available choices. Plus, by connecting hospitals and post-acute providers through Careport’s platform, care managers can see the whole picture of a patient’s care and be proactive after the hospitalization. The result is better care for the patient, reduced re-admissions to hospitals, and reduced re-admission penalties for the provider.

Joe will be joining the CarePort Health Board, to provide advice and expertise as needed. He is thrilled to participate, not only as a subject matter expert, but also to lend his experience (and empathy) as a successful entrepreneur. He wants to help Dr. Lissy Hu source new clients, hire a stellar team, and deliver exceptional products and services.

Joe concludes, “I am thrilled to work with Lissy to look ahead to where the market is going, to help anticipate what the market will need, and to help create those solutions. Health care companies, and patients need and deserve better data, information and solutions. This is the beginning of a very exciting time.”

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