Jason Krantz, MBA is founder and CEO of Definitive Healthcare of Framingham, MA.
Tell me about yourself and the company.
Definitive Healthcare was started in 2011. Our goal is to be the premier provider and the single source of truth for all data on healthcare providers. In the last seven or eight years, we’ve grown significantly. We have about 320 employees today. We offer detailed information and analytics on every single provider in the US and Canada.
Why did HIMSS sell its HIMSS Analytics business and how did Definitive Healthcare end up acquiring it?
HIMSS Analytics has tremendous data assets around technology, infrastructure, and contracts. The match with Definitive is about being a good shepherd of that data. By combining that information with all of the proprietary data that we have around affiliation, quality of care, and now our commercial claims database, we’re able to provide a complete picture for our clients that will give them a competitive edge.
Those clients include companies that are marketing into the healthcare provider market as well as providers themselves that are looking to expand their networks and understand where they can continue to grow their business through physician referral, analytics, and new affiliations. We offer a powerful solution to help advance the industry forward.
HIMSS is keeping the Adoption Model business and the consulting around that, right?
That’s correct. They’re going to continue to provide the EMRAM and the consulting around it. We will focus on the data business and the detailed provider information for both the vendor community and the provider community.
How have mergers, affiliations, and network agreements changed the demand for information as the market gets more complicated than just single hospitals and health systems?
“Complicated” is the operative word. As this industry continues to evolve and health systems become these extraordinarily complicated organizations that are big businesses in their own right, all the participants in this industry need to have access to data that can help them decipher what’s happening. Where are patients going for care? How do all these facilities interact with each other?
More and more, we’re helping our clients understand where there is patient overlap or leakage from one hospital to the next. Our clients are trying to solve that for providers, while the providers are trying to figure on their own how they can continue to protect their business and deal with new payment models. The complexity helps our business over time.
Will these larger corporate entities impose a corporate standard for systems such as EHRs and revenue cycle?
The speed at which mergers are taking place certainly makes that difficult from a technology standpoint. Health systems by and large have the strategy of moving to a corporate standard, but it takes time. Technologies that help these systems talk to each other become increasingly important.
The other important corporate standard is around decision-making for medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Health systems are trying to create standards across their entire organization. That’s good for healthcare. Standard therapies help patients overall and help understand new therapies that come to market. The move to control everything within their network continues, even though it is complex with the technology infrastructure.
Where will the three main inpatient EHR vendors look for opportunities now that the market is saturated?
They are doing some pretty interesting stuff, such as starting to work with insurance companies and different types of facilities such as treatment facilities. Epic is the largest EHR that works within the clinical trial space, which is an interesting way of growing for them. You’ve got all this rich patient data that needs to be collected in one fashion and Epic does well in that market. We’re rolling out a clinical trial product to address the needs of the pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies that we serve, but also the technology companies that want to get a piece of this robust market.
Even though they’re relatively saturated within the hospital and the health system market, these tangential areas are exciting growth areas for them. They open up a new opportunities in life sciences, insurance, and other areas.
Are drug and device manufacturers more interested in using the information that a typical hospital or practice would collect?
Absolutely. Data from EHRs has grown so much and become more standard over time. It’s a tremendous opportunity for improving the quality of care by analyzing that data, getting newly available information and at a larger scale across larger patient populations. There’s a massive interest in getting access to that data from the pharmaceutical side.
What kind of information could a mid-tier hospital software vendor get from you that would help them understand their potential market?
We have data on every single provider in the US — clinics, physician offices, imaging centers, hospitals, and IDNs — and the affiliation of all these facilities. It’s important to know whether they are owned by a health system or are standalone. We have the technology infrastructure data that allows understanding what each of those facilities are using. That data has become stronger through our acquisition of the HIMSS Analytics business. We also have information around the quality of care provided and the Medicare penalties or incentives that each of these facilities is achieving.
All of that is important for these organizations that want to elevate the conversation with their prospective clients. Rather than going in to talk about their product, they can go in and talk about what’s happening at the facility or the health system — the problems they’re seeing in their market and how that compares to other facilities they have. They can use that data to bring their product to life and show those prospective clients why their product can help meet the needs of that organization right now. Making your team smart and targeted to understand the business problems of the hospitals and facilities is an important value-add that we bring to our clients.
How do you see the company changing as it grows?
Our goal is to continue our product innovation. We have grown, mostly organically, over the last seven years at a rate of something like 175 to 200 percent per year. We continue to grow by selling more of what we have. We have a very good product of extremely high quality that covers the market really well.
We are also innovative in what we roll out to clients. In the last year, we’ve been more innovative than in the first six or seven years of our existence. We rolled out a commercial claims database that gives our clients access to data on about 210 million patient lives. We have over two billion claims. This allows our clients to understand diagnoses and procedure utilization rates by facility, provider, or physician. We’re rolling out a clinical trials database, and later this year, we’ll also be rolling out a database with specialty pharma data.
Our goal is to continue to stay on the forefront of new trends that are happening within the marketplace. Each time we do this, we open up a brand new market that we haven’t sold to before. Clinical trials opens up a multi-billion dollar industry for us. Commercial claims gives us access to all of these new markets we haven’t sold to before that need to understand what’s happening in the commercial market. All of this innovation helps us continue to grow.
Over time, we’ll continue to pull in more information, maybe from EHR systems as you mentioned, to help clients analyze that data. That’s potentially something down the road. We’ll start to get into more of health economics and outcomes research. That’s a great market for us. We see the runway as being extraordinarily long. We’re going to continue to grow at the pace that we’ve been used to over the last five to seven years.
Who are the prospects for the all-claims database and how can you correlate that information with your other databases to provide new insights?
Most of our client base is interested in the commercial claims data. Certainly some core markets are life sciences, providers, and tech firms. We take this data, where you can see this utilization by facility and physician, and make it extremely powerful by combining it with all of our proprietary data. Now you can start to do things like roll that data up at the IDN level. What does an IDN look like for knee replacements or other procedures or diagnoses? You can also combine it with things around the quality of care analytics that we provide.
Our clients take this claims data that’s valuable on its own, but we bring it to life and make it an actionable piece of information that they can use to define a new drug launch or develop their markets and create a go-to market strategy for whatever product they might have.
Do health systems use your information for competitive purposes?
We have lots of health systems as clients. They’re using our data to develop their networks, which of course is competitive to some extent. They are looking to develop new physician relationships based on referral patterns. They’re using our data to find merger and acquisition opportunities. We help analyze leakage outside of the system, Our clients are interested in understanding that. They can start to fill those gaps, because any time care is delivered outside of their system, it’s harder to provide the quality of care at the cost that they want to provide it.
How do you see the company’s future over the next five or 10 years?
It’s about continuing to expand our product offering. We have a big team of people that are being highly innovative in thinking through what the trends are within the industry. We can help our clients meet those trends head-on and stay in front of them. Access to our data and our analytics gives our clients a competitive edge. This market is moving fast. To be competitive, our clients need to stay ahead of the trends and we need to help them do that.
Over the next five to 10 years, we’re going to continue to evolve, add new product offerings, and potentially do more acquisitions as the market continues to expand so that we can provide the best data to our clients to meet their needs.
Do you have any final thoughts?
We’re a fast-growing company and there’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with that. We invest a tremendous amount from our company in terms of helping our employees grow as individuals and also to give back. We launched the Definitive Cares program about two years ago, where we have 100 percent of our employees doing a community service project throughout the year. They earn days off by being part of this program.
It’s an important part of our culture because healthcare is about helping people and servicing people. We want to bring that into the fabric of our culture. We help over 30 charities every year. We have a 100 percent volunteer rate within it. As a company, we gave over 3,000 individual service hours during the working day. All of that is important. My final thought is that continuing to give back is important to all corporations. We try to live that on our own.