Actionable Data.

Actionable Data.

Ro, a digital health care startup, just raised another $200 million in venture capital, bringing its total to over $376 million. The company will use the funds to double its 70-person computer engineering team. 

With over $250 million in revenue generated last year, the firm’s latest round of funding came in at a $1.5 billion valuation. Ro currently runs a digital health site for men and another site for women. Patients can interact with a doctor using secure text message, phone or video. The firm has successfully completed over 5 million patient “visits.”

Ro has entered the online pharmacy space, offering 500 generic medications at $5 a month per drug. The latest round of funding will give their platform the ability to interact with medical devices such as oxygen sensors and other patient monitoring. This extensive data set will give the company tremendous power and leverage in controlling the patient life-cycle and relationship.

The patient will start on the internet with Ro. They already have the pharmacy component plugged in. With real-time patient monitoring, doctors will be able to triage the health needs of each patient and more treatment will be able to be provided without seeing a provider in person.

This is what I call “actionable data” and it’s why Apple, Facebook and Google are so powerful when it comes to online advertising and marketing. 

Sure, these tech companies make great products and services, but the real reason they do all of this is to collect data that can be turned into more profit and power.

The health care companies that have the most actionable data will win the race to outcomes-based reimbursement and proprietary treatment algorithms. The question we must ask ourselves, as a society, is whether or not we want private enterprise to place profit ahead of patient safety and privacy or whether a single-payer in the form of the federal government can step in and produce something a little less like the DMV or postal service.

In either scenario, data holds the secret to where we are headed. 

In your own business, seek all the data you can get your hands on and allow it to help you make decisions. Which day of the week is your busiest in terms of new patients, production and collections? Which procedures cost you the most to perform and which generate the most margin? How many phone calls do you receive each hour of each day and when are you missing the most phone calls? What percent of new visitors to your website exit without visiting another page? Where could you invest more money online and generate a higher ROI than you’re currently achieving?

Just like Ro understands their next $1 billion will not come from the data but what they do with it, after you’ve started collecting the right data, don’t sleep until you’ve put it to good use.

Worked at Burleson Orthodontics. Attended University of Missouri–Kansas City. Lives in Kansas City, Missouri.