Medullan, a digital healthcare consulting firm, has been at the forefront of the increasingly technological healthcare industry since its 2004 founding. Emphasizing the importance of innovation, Medullan develops transformative UX to help build and maintain engaging client-consumer relationships. Aetna and Humana, are just a couple of the companies that have turned to Medullan, dubbed a 2015 “pacesetter” or one of the fastest-growing private companies in Massachusetts by Boston Business Journal.
The brains behind this pioneering company belong to Founder and CEO Ahmed Albaiti. He was first introduced to healthcare through a lead position with the Research Enterprise Technology team at Partners HealthCare where he realized his desire to not only improve care delivery but also spark impactful change beyond the clinical level. His diverse background in technology — via software engineering, tech consulting, and start-up companies — helped these ideas come to fruition. Along with his experiences, Albaiti believes that an open, honest approach to innovation are key to the company’s success with a human-centered approach. This week, we got a chance to discuss these ideas further with Albaiti.
Tell us what inspired Medullan.
I founded Medullan with the goal of bringing about meaningful change in healthcare by harnessing technology to deliver better outcomes. Our mission is “Innovation for Better Lives.” We are passionate about making a difference in healthcare, and we are realizing our mission by helping companies build strong and valuable relationships with their customers. Technology, prescribed from a deep understanding of human behavior, can play a key role in nurturing the relationships between healthcare providers and the people they serve, ultimately improving outcomes and quality of life.
What are some of the problems that Medullan aims to solve?
We work with clients across the healthcare ecosystem: providers, payers, and the life sciences. The recurring challenges they come to us for are:
What are some past projects that exemplify Medullan’s mission and offering?
Our mission came to life when we took on the first statewide healthcare cost transparency project for the Massachusetts Healthcare Quality and Cost Council (HCQCC). We created a consumer decision support tool using both cost and quality data — one of the first in the nation. Our aspirations were justified when we created the first complete genome-browsing application for consumers back when it cost $300K per person. Our clinical research heritage will be rekindled when we create a model commercial-academic digital health study built on Apple’s ResearchKit.
What do you anticipate for mHealth’s growth within the next five years? Ten years?
mHealth, currently defined as mobile apps, wearables and connected devices, will continue to grow at an explosive pace. To put things in perspective, the most ubiquitous mHealth technology is already here: the smartphone; 80% of the global population will be on smartphones by 2020.
mHealth apps are still the cheapest and most adopted mHealth solutions in the market today, despite the growing graveyard of failed attempts from start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. That aside, the next ubiquitous mHealth technology will undoubtedly be the smartwatch. It is a convergence device, wiping out the need for multiple devices. mHealth needs a platform that can be more readily interactive, package up more sensors and be physically closer to human beings. That physicality is important. The smartwatch can provide holistic, valuable personalized interventions because of the simple fact that they are anchored on something inexorable to humans: time.
How can the average person get involved? Or stay informed?
At Medullan, our vision is that the future will have empowered consumers to take better control of their health. It is a rare outcome indeed where anything that has empowered consumers has not created better quality of life. That means the average person has to become more self-aware and understand what decisions they can make day to day.
The average person should take the time to understand what advancements in technology means for their loved ones, whether it’s aging parents and relatives, your children or your friends and relatives who may live far away. Good health has a lot of upside. If we care about that upside, we should not be afraid to try new things, including digital things, and begin to create a culture of accountability, caring for others and mindfulness of ourselves. Pick up the book, Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, and take it for a spin. Try downloading and using Atari Fit. Connect with your parents on Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp. Experiences like this will likely inspire you to think about how healthcare could look, and feel, in the future. Have fun!
Nicole Yang is an editorial intern at MedTech Boston. She is currently a rising senior at Amherst College, where she studies Neuroscience. During the academic year, Nicole is the Managing Editor of The Amherst Student and has also worked as a Chemistry laboratory teaching assistant. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys playing squash and practicing yoga. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Yang12.
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