Symptify: Empowering Patients to Make Better Decisions

by Jalil Thurber

Billions of people go online to self-diagnose their symptoms, so we created the app for that. Have back pain? Symptify it!
Miami, FL United States Patient Education Patient and Provider Tools Connected Health Affordable Choices challenge Access to Care challenge NOLAHI Challenge - See All

All Team Company Patients Physicians Hospital Partners Mission Innovation Details Supporters Comments Updates

About our project

The problem we solve: Patients are increasingly going online for health information to help them decipher causes for their symptoms and decide on an appropriate & cost-effective course of action. Many companies have begun to offer interactive and engaging tools as a way to increase member loyalty, streamline access to care and reinforce their brand but often cannot create and maintain this type of tools for themselves. Without proper direction users often end up seeking care at an inappropriate venue or worst do not seek care at all. Symptify addresses this problem by helping users understand the causes of their symptoms, formulate a care plan and help them navigate the health system according to their acute symptom needs to eliminate redundancy and wasteful spending. We white-label and customize our application for healthcare systems, employers and payers to facilitate access to care, improve engagement and help patients get to the right place of care at the right time.

About our solution: Symptify is a platform designed to help users figure out causes for their symptoms, where to go for care and help them get there. It is a symptom evaluator coupled with a provider geo-locator, appointment scheduler and check in application. All of these functions work together to take a user from having a symptom, to figuring out what could be wrong, to making an appointment with a doctor. If a user is unsure about going to an ER, choosing an urgent care or waiting to see their doctor, Symptify will not only help them decide which venue is most appropriate but allow them to see locations by proximity, wait times and available appointment slots to allow them to either check in to a facility or book an appointment. With Symptify users experience the same level of convenience and ease of access that they now receive from the travel industry when arranging for services.The aim of the application is to promote health literacy, facilitate navigation,improve access to care and decrease cost.

Progress to date:

Our company has secured a team of physicians from leading institutions like Cleveland Clinic, Vanderbilt and UT Houston and world class software engineers responsible for building platforms that support hundreds of millions of users such as Yahoo! Music & Facebook giftcards.

We have entered the market and have forged partnerships with CIGNA, Universal Health Services, Ortho Now urgent care centers and private physicians groups. We have been hailed "a must see digital health startup" by Yahoo! Finance, "a startup that will get you off WebMD for good" by GEW, and “a top idea to provide value-based care” by Pitchstone Health.  We won 1st place at Miami's eMerge Americas competition, took 2nd place at the Florida Venture Forum and won Tech-Cocktail's Best Company Culture "All-Star Startup Award". We have been featured on both FOX and Telemundo News. To date we have booked thousands of appointments, generated more than 150,000 virtual consultations, renewed contracts with existing customers and have received wonderful feedback from end users. We envision that Symptify will soon become a verb of its own, instead of googling symptoms, people will Symptify them instead.

About Our Team

Creator: Jalil Thurber

Location: Florida

Education: University of Texas at Houston Health Science

Bio: With more than 14 years of experience in providing expedient emergency care, Dr. Jalil Thurber realizes the importance of helping patients better understand their own health and wellness. As CEO of Symptify, Dr. Thurber oversees the development of Symptify.com and the Symptify application. He is the driving force and vision behind Symptify.   Board Certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Thurber received his training at the University of Texas at Houston. He brings an innovative perspective to consumer healthcare technology. From groundbreaking research in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Ferid Murad at the University of Texas, to caring for the indigenous people in his native Honduras, Jalil has been focused on advancing applied medical knowledge throughout his career. A gifted scientist, software architect and humble clinician, Jalil Thurber is the agile leader that drives the founders of Symptify to push their vision into new and innovative directions.

Hospital Affiliation: Cleveland Clinic, HCA, Jackson Memorial, Hermann Hospital, Tenet Hospital, University of Texas at Ho

Title: CEO

Advanced Degree(s): MD

About Our Company

Symptify

Location: 9432 BAY DR.
Miami, FL 33154

Founded: 2014

Website: https://symptify.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/symptify?lang=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Symptify/

Product Stage: In the Market

Employees: 5-10

How We Help Patients

Symptify was designed for patients. According to the CDC 87% of ER patients are sent home and Truven Health reports that 71% of ER visits are avoidable. Our studies show that 25% of ambulatory ER patients go online to evaluate their symptoms before coming to the ER. They search for answers to three central questions: 1) What could be wrong? 2) Do I need to see a doctor? 3) Can I take care of it myself? We answer these questions for our users in a HIPAA compliant, secure application free of irrelevant pop-up ads in a clean and concise fashion. In an average of 4 minutes users get personalized results for their medical complaint and are shown the most cost-effective venue for care within the shortest distance and shortest wait. Many patients can relate to the frustration of waiting hours in a busy ER, paying an expensive bill and only receiving what they perceive as reassurance by the ER provider. We work to address this problem and save patients money, time and needless frustration.

How We Help Physicians

Among the problems that plague emergency care are unpredictability, inefficiencies and overutilization of resources. These problems lead to dissatisfaction among patients and providers. Symptify aims to make rushes of patients to ERs more predictable, expedite their triage and definitive care while at the same time reinforcing a hospital’s brand, competitive advantage and improving patient satisfaction. With Symptify triage nurses and registration staff receive a “heads up” of inbound patients, giving them the opportunity to expedite intake. Furthermore, patient’s transmit their Symptify health record in advance of their arrival allowing providers to be better prepared for their needs. In addition, health systems can communicate wait times to users and show real time availability across the health system to decrease ‘clogging’ at one particular location. The end result is a better patient experience, decreased workload for healthcare personnel, improved outcomes and enhanced patient/provider communications.

How We Help Hospitals

The number of people going online to search for health information is increasing, and those who use the internet more frequently are more likely to participate in their own care, according to the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Patients will often turn to a hospital website first before turning to a family member, friend or personal physician when looking for information regarding a health system. These information seekers are more likely to take an action online such as book an appointment online, click on an ad (e.g., for a specific facility, treatment option), forward a link or video to someone or use an interactive tool for more information. As a result, many companies have begun to provide engaging and interactive tools online but often are not well suited to create or maintain such tools for themselves. We white-label our application to assist health systems meet consumer demands for convenience and access, enhance navigation of their health system, become more of a trusted provider with engaging and educational tools, and gain more traction/market share in this retail digital health revolution. Tangible benefits of our application are shorter wait times, (the single most cited complaint about ER visits nationwide), enhanced patient retention and customer acquisition (e.g., patient visits increase by at least 6% for facilities that broadcast wait times). Furthermore, Symptify offers a new advertising vehicle to a captive audience and provides an effective precision referral system that enhances new patient leads and generates additional revenue. Because the application also has custom analytics health systems can have a greater connection with the community by gaining real insights into disease trends, determine patient top queries and obtaining user demographic and other pertinent data. We help health systems create a better patient experience with the result of improved satisfaction, increased market share and improved efficiency.

How We Help Partners

In addition to the two stakeholders mentioned above, patients and providers, we have identified another stakeholder for Symptify and that is insurers/health plans. We do have an existing partnership with an international insurance company. The benefits for insurers include: • Mitigates or obviates the need for a nurse call line, which is often ill-prepared to answer specific medical questions by the caller and very often leads to recommendations that callers proceed to the ER, even when this turns out to be unnecessary • Creates a value-add for the plan enrollees, driving online traffic to the insurer’s site for information the user deems as ‘critically important’ or ‘very important’ • Creates value add for insurers acting as a TPA when selling to potential customers i.e. employers • Places the insurer at the forefront of consumer driven technology applications, substantiating their enrollee’s perception of their commitment to healthcare advancement • Confers potentially substantial cost savings to the insurer for the costs of treating those patients who are appropriately redirected away from the ER • Enhances patient engagement and creates a venue by which insurers can reach their membership base. • Great source of data and analytics to allow insurers gain insights into disease trends, utilization and user demographics.

Challenge Mission

How We Address the Mission of The Challenge(s)

Access To Care Challenge

In collaboration with the New Orleans Health Department and UMC we would create a customized co-branded version of Symptify that can be accessed through a patient portal, mobile app, designated websites or kiosks. The application will be designed to not only aid users in managing acute medical complaints (what is wrong and where to go) in the most cost-effective manner but also assist with appointment creation and reminders, link to ride sharing services, scheduling preventative health measures and management of chronic conditions. It will interact with users via smart phone notifications, text, and email. Users will earn rewards for use of the application. The application will leverage patients existing medical records to yield more precise results and a personalized care plan. The list of providers and facilities will be customized to included selected “in-network” facilities and community clinics. This list can be made to reflect “in-network” facilities depending on the user’s health insurance plan. When appropriate Symptify will educate users on self-care of minor medical conditions to decreased needless ER or doctor visits. We currently have a list of 1400 conditions that we target to potentially steer away from the emergency room. We will create a customized analytics page to ascertain an enormous amount of useful data and metrics such as disease trends, resource utilization, population demographics etc. The application can also integrate or work alongside EMRs to give a heads up of inbound patients to facilitate intake or re-direction. The Symptify application was designed with the intent to decreased healthcare spending of consumers by promoting health literacy, enhancing engagement, improving patient navigation and reducing waste in the system. The application is built for an audience with at least a sixth grade reading level and is available in English and Spanish but could be also translated to another language if necessary.

Tulane Health System Affordable Choices Challenge

In collaboration with Tulane Health System we would create a customized co-branded version of Symptify that can be accessed through a patient portal, app in app stores, designated websites or kiosks. The application will be designed to not only aid users in managing acute medical complaints (what is wrong and where to go) in the most cost-effective manner but also assist with appointment reminders, scheduling preventative health measures and management of chronic conditions. It will interact with users via smart phone notifications, text, and email. Users will earn rewards for use of the application. The application will leverage patients existing medical records to yield more precise results and a personalized care plan. The list of providers and facilities will be customized to included selected “in-network” facilities and community clinics. This list can be made to reflect “in-network” facilities depending on the user’s health insurance plan. When appropriate Symptify will educate users on self-care of minor medical conditions to decreased needless ER or doctor visits. We currently have a list of 1400 conditions that we target to potentially steer away from the emergency room. We will create a customized analytics page to ascertain an enormous amount of useful data and metrics such as disease trends, resource utilization, population demographics etc. The application can also integrate or work alongside EMRs to give a heads up of inbound patients to facilitate intake or re-direction. The Symptify application was designed with the intent to decreased healthcare spending of consumers by promoting health literacy, improving patient navigation and reducing waste in the system.

New Orleans and Our Company

The founders have close family ties to New Orleans and are familiar with the healthcare challenges in the community.

Innovation Details

Intellectual Property Summary

Our approach to digital self-diagnosis is novel and leverages multiple proprietary databases to create an unmatched virtual consultation experience that not only empowers and educates the user but helps them execute a care plan. Our platform was built from the ground up by our team of world class physicians and software engineers. The databases continue to expand and improvements to the logic of the AI engine occur daily in order to refine the product. The technology we built has created a unique competitive advantage. 

Clinical Information

Data from surverys has shown that 90% of users have recommended the app to others, 50% reported avoided at least one unnecessary ER visit and 80% stated that their Symptify results matched what their doctor said.  

Regulatory Status

Our tool is for educational purposes only and is not purviewed to FDA clearance.

How we will use the funds raised

The additional seed money we are raising will go towards product development, marketing & sales. Everything the company has accomplished thus far has been without marketing spend, any SEO activation or organic push. The founders have bootstrapped the company thus far.

Thank You

Our mission at Symptify is to become the primary destination and point of first contact for people with an undiagnosed acute health concern to help them figure out what their symptoms mean, what to do about them and where to go for help. We do this by providing users with accurate and personalized results with the ultimate goal of getting people to the right place of care at the right time. We are doctors putting our knowledge and experience inside an AI engine and make it available to the billions of people around the world to help them make more informed and cost-effective decisions.

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Jalil Thurber
CEO
University of Texas at Houston Health Science

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