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Three months after leaving the federal government, Farzad Mostashari, MD, is joining the board of directors at the patient engagement company Get Real Health.
The big-thinking, bow-tied public health veteran is currently studying accountable care policies full-time at the Brookings Institution, and said he’s joining the Get Real Health board to help it “‘stay’ real as it innovates and serves patients and providers.”
The Rockville, Maryland-based company was founded in 2000, starting out as a connected health consulting outfit and then, after working with Microsoft’s HealthVault in 2007, launching its own health technology in 2012, the InstantPHR patient engagement platform.
Among the many health IT companies Mostashari could be lending his vision and credibility to, Get Real Health stood out, he said, because of its global presence (in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada), its “understanding of population health and care coordination for providers,” and the Blue Button compatibility of its PHR.
“Get Real Health understands the human side of health IT every bit as much as the technology side,” Mostashari said in a media release. “They put patients and providers first, and they built their solution to meet the demands of a healthcare system that is struggling to transform itself.”
Arguing that the company is “well positioned” for America’s “new ecosystem” of healthcare, Mostashari added that he thinks “the ability of patients to get and share their own data and the ability of providers to engage patients will be true game changers.”
For the company’s part, founding partner and CEO Mark Heaney is hoping to tap “Farzad’s energy and passion for innovation” to “appropriately steer and expand our product” to “keep it ahead of our competitors.”
Part of the company’s strategy is to approach patients rather than health organizations as their clients — or at least see patients as extensions of those clients — as one customer, Brandon Neiswender, senior health information director at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania, said in a testimonial.
By trying to design its PHR as an app or web-based tool that lets providers communicate with patients and manage and personalize their chronic disease or post-hospital discharge care, Get Real Health is partly positioning itself as a patient engagement company that can fill gaps left by EHRs and HIEs.
Get Real Health’s three founding partners — CEO Mark Heaney, President Robin Wiener and CTO Jason Harmon — are all veterans of the Internet marketing company USWeb, which helped pioneer the first generation of Internet design before merging and filing bankruptcy amid the dot-com bubble.
Mostashari joins Heaney, Wiener and Harmon on the board, as well as Paul Lepage, the president of Telus Health, a Canadian health IT company and one of Get Real Health’s five strategic partners. Mostashari will not be paid for his board position, although he will be eligible for stock options.
Mostashari is not the only former national coordinators to step into the health IT private sector after federal service. David Brailer, MD, the first appointee to the role of the national coordinator for health IT, is now running the San Francisco private equity firm Health Evolution Partners.