A Q&A with Symcat
Craig Monsen, CEO of Symcat.
What is the mission of your company?
Symcat is a web and mobile app, launched in March 2012, that helps users when they're sick figure out what's wrong with them and what to do about it using data-driven algorithms. About 80 percent of Internet users look for health information online, but they are often led down a path of escalating concern due to the fact that search results do not correspond to the likelihood of disease.
For example, search queries overstate your risk of serious conditions by as much as 1,000 times. By analyzing the medical record data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, users of Symcat can determine what people with their symptoms actually had and use that information to find the most appropriate care.
Symcat further connects [users] to that care via mapping, turn-by-turn directions, and appointment setting.
Explain your business model. How do you make money?
We offer a license to health plans to offer Symcat technology in whatever form -- API, widget, mobile app -- to members as a benefit.
This is attractive to health plans mainly for two reasons. First, health plans are increasingly looking for "consumer engagement" solutions that distinguish themselves from their competitors from the perspective of a consumer.
Secondly, health plans have a direct interest in ensuring their members seek care at appropriate facilities (i.e. not just rushing to the emergency room where care is the most expensive). Symcat helps consumers know when emergency care vs. urgent care or a doctor's visit is more appropriate, thereby decreasing health care spending.
Who are your competitors and how are you different?
iTriage and WebMD are the incumbents. Both offer "symptom-checking" functionality and medical content. These tools are primarily based on encyclopedia-type content to associate symptoms and diagnoses. As a result, brain cancer always comes up as an explanation for headache for example. What distinguishes us is our ability to determine the most likely causes for a given set of symptoms by analyzing medical record data.
Where are your headquarters?
Number of full-time employees?
Blueprint Health accelerator program
I am a medical student at Johns Hopkins University, graduating in 2012.