Mountain Labs helps hospitals deliver data and prevent security breaches

Shannon Beeman
May 19, 2015

At nearly every hospital across the country, there is an ongoing clinical trial, research project or quality improvement initiative. These investigations are integral to improving patient care and ensuring that the healthcare system of the future is being explored today. Naturally, these research teams often use patient records and other hospital data to analyze the effectiveness of new treatments, develop clinical guidelines and best practices and, most importantly, improve patient outcomes and public health.

The dirty little secret of the healthcare industry is that, despite the billions invested in healthcare IT over the past seven years, requests for hospital data sets are fulfilled manually by understaffed IT departments. This process is designed to counteract the security liability created by making highly regulated health data accessible outside of hospital IT systems. However, manual oversight is expensive – each request for data costs about $2,500 to fulfill, and hospital employees must wait about 12 weeks from initial request to receipt of the data.

Hospitals have been willing to pay this price, and for good reason. The Identity Theft Resource Center reported over 330 separate data breaches in the healthcare industry in 2014 alone, which exposed a total of 8,277,991 patient records and cost more than $750 million. With an average cost of $2.4 million per breach, many hospitals have seemingly decided that the financial impact of a potential HIPAA data breach outweighs the benefits of making data openly accessible. However, we believe that healthcare providers can’t afford to ignore the benefits of sharing data and collaborating with others to improve our healthcare system.

This is why Mountain Labs has developed Symport, a standalone data access portal that provides data sets through secure online databases, rather than spreadsheets and email attachments. Symport is similar to a virtual data room for hospitals, allowing IT departments to broker access to sensitive data sets in a closely monitored environment.

Using Symport, hospitals can manage access to data sets containing personally identifiable health information and can revoke that access at any time. With Symport, hospitals have the ability to securely share patient data without manual oversight while providing data on demand to doctors, researchers, analysts and other collaborators. In short, Symport makes data sharing cheaper, faster and more secure.

Since incorporating in April 2014, Mountain Labs has raised over $500,000, released the first version of Symport and secured multiple pilot projects at the University of Michigan Health System and University Hospitals’ Seidman Cancer Center. To further our vision, Mountain Labs will be presenting at the 2015 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium to identify investors who can help us make Symport available to healthcare organizations throughout the Midwest.

This guest post was contributed by Alex VanDerKolk, president of Mountain Labs. Mountain Labs is one of 32 companies that will present at the 34th Michigan Growth Capital Symposium this week. Register to attend here, and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #MGCS2015.