Elemeno offers guidance to clinicians on a mobile app when they need it most, in an effort to standardize care. (Elemeno Health)

Standardization has become the holy grail in healthcare. If every provider followed the same best practices for every patient, outcomes would improve.

Arup Roy-Burman, M.D., CEO of Elemeno

The problem is humans. We make errors. We’re imperfect.

Health systems across the country are trying to close that gap. That’s where Elemeno has stepped in to gamify clinician education and standardize practices at the point of care.

Founded by Arup Roy-Burman, M.D., a former medical director at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, and Ed Nanale, veteran game developer at Electronic Arts, Elemeno is taking existing approaches around interventions like checklists and providing clinicians with tools and decision-making resources on mobile web applications. The solution is designed to provide clinicians with on-demand evidence-based guidance around specific issues such as infections, cancer screenings or opioid safety. The gamification comes in as units compete with one another to improve compliance.

“Our core belief is that people in healthcare are smart and dedicated and coming to the field because they want to do the right thing,” Roy-Burman said. “We’re about how can we make your life easier to do the right thing?”

Elemeno has experienced rapid growth, in part because it’s driven outcomes. A recent study in the American Journal of Medical Quality shows the solution dropped catheter-associated bloodstream infection rates by 48% at one UCSF hospital, saving more than $1 million. Another study presented at an American College of Medical Quality conference showed that Elemeno helped drive an 85% year-over-year reduction in C. diff infections.

The company could be in for even more seismic growth in the near future, as it's been in discussions with the U.K.’s National Health System to help standardize its care practices.

"We're still a young company," Roy-Burman says. "We don’t want to stretch too fast or too far."

Fierce insights from Arup Roy-Burman, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Elemeno

FierceHealthcare: What is your best piece of advice for launching a healthcare company that challenges the status quo?

The big idea: Virtual coach for frontline teams

Headquarters: Oakland, California

CEO: Arup Roy-Burman, M.D.

Launched: December 2016 (first commercial product shipped)

Funders: Lead investor: Launchpad Digital Health. Other major investors: Y Combinator, Fenway Summer Ventures, MedForce, Berkeley Angel Network 

Funds raised: $2M

Average annual revenue (or FY17 revenue): Average rate of return is $400,000 (as of December 2018)

Employees: 7 full-time; 2 part-time

Arup Roy-Burman: Work with someone on the inside. Healthcare is such an inherently risk-averse industry, you need somebody who is established in healthcare and understands and is respected.

FH: What is the failure you’ve learned the best lesson from?

ARB: The first thing you roll out is not going to be perfect. It’s constantly evolving. You need someone who will work with you in the trenches on the other side and help you overcome those obstacles.

FH: What is one change you predict in healthcare that people wouldn’t expect?

ARB: The EHR is not the cure-all for everything. The EHR is a record—a record of what we have done and what we need to do. 

Technology has to enable people to do things better and like what they are doing more. Everything that has succeeded in consumer space is because it enables the user. People are trying to force behavior change through the EHR. But the EHR in its current state should stay as a record. When we’re trying to drive practice change, we need more nimble solutions that are not encumbered by restrictions and inflexibility of the EHR.