In Conversation with Dr. Arif Nathoo, Co-Founder & CEO, Komodo Health

January 8, 2020

Annie Lamont

By Annie Lamont, Oak HC/FT

What is Komodo Health?

Komodo Health leverages technology and patient information to help treat diseases. We do this by analyzing insights from 320 million patients across the U.S. and then developing software products that can help large enterprises address their patient populations.

What was the genesis of Komodo?

One of the biggest challenges to building great artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithms in healthcare is how disastrous the state of healthcare data is. Healthcare data is sitting in a million different places with little cohesion. The cost of bringing it together and standardizing it — in a way that can actually be used — is a massive barrier to enabling innovative companies to create algorithms for improving healthcare. So, we started with the idea that if we create great software, while solving this healthcare data fragmentation problem, we could help companies make better decisions and transform industry practices.

How did you first recognize a need to focus on this area of healthcare?

Before Komodo, a company would acquire some data from a legacy data aggregator. They would have an analyst review the data and create an Excel or PowerPoint slide for a decision maker. That method is massively antiquated; the data is often inadequate, the analysis is done repeatedly, and the output quickly becomes stale.

In our past lives, my co-founder, Web Sun, and I saw firsthand how many opportunities were missed. We often thought to ourselves, there must be a massively better way of doing this?! Fortunately, this period also coincided with an explosion of healthcare data in 2014, driven by wearables, EHRs, and new diagnostics. That’s how we saw an incredible opportunity to bring an application to the market that improved the process. That's what inspired us to launch Komodo.

How is Komodo leveraging data and technology to drive better health outcomes and close gaps in care?

The central thesis of Komodo is that better data can generate better algorithms that drive meaningful improvement in healthcare. We’re bringing this to life in a lot of different disease categories, from predicting patients that are likely to have undiagnosed rare diseases to identifying opportunities for improving standards of care in communities where patients are having a markedly worse outcome despite having access to great care. The opportunity is to use Komodo’s “ground truth” to uncover patterns and arm our customers to improve how they provide care to their patients.

Komodo serves the life sciences, advocacy, payer, provider and research sectors. How does more accessible healthcare intelligence benefit all of these different customers?

First and foremost, every one of these customers has an obligation to a patient. Using data to better improve patient outcomes is something that we believe every actor in the healthcare system is obligated to do.

We partner with all healthcare stakeholders — whether they’re a life sciences company developing a life-changing therapy for a patient with a rare disease, an advocacy organization helping a newly diagnosed patient determine where they should get the best care, a payer ensuring the healthy outcomes of their population, a provider that has to figure out where gaps in care are leading to worse outcomes, or a researcher that's looking at which approach is going to create the best patient outcome.

How are you leveraging Komodo’s Healthcare Map to build SaaS products?

The Healthcare Map is foundational because it traces the journeys of millions of patients with disease. Understanding their experience with the healthcare system allows us to identify where the opportunities are to improve the standard of care. The advantage we have in seeing the underlying data is that we can create software workflows that highlight the right insights on the right condition at the right time. That advantage plays out in the way our software products are built.

One of these products, Aperture, traces disease burden in the U.S. by following a cohort of patients, in any disease area, to understand how that cohort experiences healthcare. If we look at the core value proposition of the product, it can work with any cohort of patients, so the experience for the customer is consistent and familiar regardless of the therapeutic category, yet intelligence is specific to that condition and informed by the most robust insights on that patient cohort.

The way we think about population health is that we're moving to a model where we need to be able to understand a particular population in real time. We built another real time software solution, Serenity, that allows a real-time view into the healthcare needs of a community and the opportunities to improve the standard of care.

These are just two examples of how our software is built on specific insights from the Healthcare Map to help customers and the patients they serve.

What’s next for Komodo?

There's so much on the horizon for us. We continue to develop software products that address disease burden and improve patient outcomes. We're investing massively in our Healthcare Map and continuing to get deeper visibility into the way healthcare is practiced in this country. We're also exploring new ways of partnering across the industry to improve outcomes.

We're excited about the future of Komodo’s growth. This is an incredible point in time for data, software and technology in the healthcare space.

Lightening Round  

If I weren’t a CEO, I would be… traveling the world with my wife and little ones

What’s on your desk right now? A stack of books that I'm trying to finish up, but never will

What one piece of advice would you offer to an entrepreneur? Build what you believe the market doesn't know it wants and focus on what it takes to convince them that it does. The game favors those who doggedly pursue what they believe in the face of uncertainty and self-doubt.