Akido Labs is a medical startup-turned-healthcare provider that has redirected its growth strategy through a partnership with Pomona-based Chaparral Medical Group.
The partnership takes Akido’s proprietary technology platform, which the company calls the Wellbeing Graph, and makes it usable in a medical network.
The platform is software technology that predicts social or health outcomes that a person may be susceptible to based on their medical history and life events, which Akido classifies as social determinants of health. It also meets the needs of patients with an existing chronic disease who regularly visit specialist doctors.
Chief Technology Officer Jared Goodner gave an example of using the platform.
“As a patient, I may have recently lost my job, which I happened to mention to my doctor. “Because our system is trained to identify markers, particularly markers of social determinants, that indicate potential progression of worsening disease, our system indicates job loss,” Goodner said. “And that leads to an automatic sequence of events that are triggered based on that (tag).”
The software could also suggest additional screenings for pre-diabetic markers, alert the doctor and patient to discuss food insecurity, or send the patient a request to enroll in a nutrition program. Goodner added that the platform is designed to support doctors in their services, not make decisions for the patient.
“You’re kind of democratizing the ability to prevent further disease progression by exposing (patients) to a much larger market of intervention opportunities, some of which could be created and administered by Akido and others that are completely third-party, whatever makes the most sense for the patient’s health,” said Prashant Samant, Managing Director of Akido.
Through its technology, the company has reworked into the preventive care market, as opposed to immediate patient care, which has already materialized.
Akida’s partnership with Chaparral Medical Group, which has more than 30 locations in the Pomona Valley, allows the company to gain more users of its technology and thus more revenue. It also marks Akido’s transition from a software provider for various healthcare clients to a bona fide healthcare provider supported by its own technology.
“(Chapparal has) a culture focused on chronic disease management, and we can complement that with our platform and technology infrastructure,” Samant said.
As part of the partnership, Dr. Prasad Jeereddi, founder of Chaparral, will continue to run the day-to-day medical functions of his group and will assume the role of Chief Medical Officer for Akido. He will work closely with Akido’s Head of Business Development Sanjit Mahanti.
Mahanti said Chaparral is the right fit for Akida’s business because it focuses on treating the chronically ill in a multi-specialty way, which he described as the best way to create a sustainable health care business.
“We’re talking about endocrinologists, rheumatologists, pulmonologists and cardiologists, really the core subspecialties that we now think are most important in the care of the chronically ill,” Mahanti said. “We wanted to make sure we were working with an organization that had that core competency.”
Together, Jeereddi and Mahanti have over 50 years of operational knowledge and experience in the multi-specialty care sector and will be key players in Akido’s expansion into new markets.
“I have always believed that patient care is as much an art as a science, and the consideration of creating a symbiotic relationship between the artful practice of medicine and the powerful technology of Akido will greatly serve our patients, physicians, care teams and communities,” Jeereddi said.
The partnership comes seven years after Akido was founded out of the D-Health Lab at the University of Southern California, around the time the company received early investment from Y Combinator, a tech startup accelerator.
In the period between that and the development of its new medical network, the company provided its services primarily to entities that needed help in managing healthcare services. Akido, for example, has used its platform to collaborate with the city of Long Beach, Santa Monica, Moffitt Cancer Center, and the American Foundation for the Blind, among others.
In the case of Long Beach Akido, it provided its platform to help the city coordinate care across multiple social and health care services.
“Places like Long Beach are working with residents who have very different needs culturally, right? It is a very multicultural city,” said Mahanti. “This means that as a doctor, care provider or social worker, providing support to meet each individual’s cultural needs can be quite useful, and we put a lot of work into the design of the system to make this possible.”
Last year, the company announced that it had raised a total of $25 million in funding to expand its impact, and that its most recent funding at the time was Future Communities Capital.
Akido used to follow an enterprise software business model, but with the transition to a healthcare business model, the company makes money through patient care. This income is a combination of service care fee and capitation care. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, capitated care is “a payment arrangement for health care services in which an entity receives a risk-adjusted amount of money for each person assigned to it over a period of time, regardless of the volume of services. that person is looking for.”
With its own medical network, Akido is now looking to penetrate deeper into the preventive care space. Samant said the company’s biggest challenge so far has been validating its presence in the space.
“It required a lot of validation from other parts of the business ecosystem, from insurance companies and government agencies to healthcare providers who wanted to work with us,” said Samant. “Like, ‘Can you really take responsibility for this rock? Or are you just Silicon Valley people who are going to throw software rocks?'”
According to Samantha, Akido plans to increase its funding by 150% to 200% in the next year, primarily due to the business that will come from its partnership with Chaparral.