A new startup known as H1 is causing a stir in the healthcare industry. The idea behind the app is so simple, it’s hard to believe it’s taken the world this long to produce such a handy tool. Just like LinkedIn, the app features a list of professional healthcare providers all over the world, including what their credentials are, which specialties they have, the research they’re currently conducting, and even which pharmaceutical companies have taken them out to eat.
It’s designed to give providers, employers, and consumers more insight into who’s who in the world of healthcare.
Co-founder and CEO Ariel Katz remembers trying to connect with experts in the field of schizophrenia and consciousness while studying neuroscience at Binghamton University as an undergraduate back in 2013. But he soon discovered there was no way to quickly search for medical specialists in different areas of study. What he needed was a centralized database of all the academics and the research they were doing, so he set out to build one himself.
He eventually dropped out of school and sold his creation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ewan Kaufman Foundation. But now he is using the same technology to build his own startup, H1.
“We have created a platform for the healthcare ecosystem to connect in the same way LinkedIn connected professional workers in the early 2000s. There hasn’t been a global platform like H1 before that has connected industry to the right doctors the way H1 does,” Katz added.
The company has already raised nearly $200 million and is currently valued at just under $800 million. It’s now a global platform with profiles of over 10 million doctors across 84 countries. Each account is updated daily with information about the physician’s publications, patient demographics, social media mentions, and other public data related to their practice. Some have suggested that the app can even be used to crack down on provider who spread false or misleading information online.
“In a world where you can’t trust a lot of things you read online, health is sort of a thing that you don’t want to be untrustworthy,” said Katz. “We imagine organizing the world’s information in 10 years from now. What does that mean? If you get diagnosed with a disease or a condition, you’re going to [come to] H1. If you’re trying to find the right doctor to treat you, you’re going to come to H1.”
Katz says the site will always be free to use for both patients and doctors.
Unlike existing platforms like Zocdoc, patients can even look up the doctor’s surgery success rate to make sure they find an experienced professional. They can also see which pharmaceutical companies have sponsored the doctor’s studies to see if there is a potential conflict of interest.
“If you have cancer, you don’t go to Zocdoc. If you have a heart attack, you don’t go to Zocdoc. If you have a special, rare condition, you don’t go to Zocdoc,” he says. “It’s not interesting to know how nice the doctor is in patient reviews. What you want to know is if they’re good at it.”
But the app is also used to help connect drugmakers to providers. Katz said the company earns revenue by pairing pharmaceutical companies with providers that can help run their clinical trials. Some companies will even pay H1 more than $100,000 a year for these services.
The young CEO says the website is ultimately about helping patients make informed decisions about the care they receive.
“People say access to healthcare is a human right. And I think in 10 years, access to the right healthcare information is a basic human right,” Katz says. “[H1 is] going to change the world around access to healthcare information.”