In April 2003, Florence Rothman died in a Sarasota, Fla., emergency room. It happened following undiagnosed complications after a routine surgery to correct aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the exit of the left ventricle of the heart.
Florence’s sons, Michael and Steven Rothman—an engineer and a scientist skilled in data analysis—struggled with how the complications occurred in a top-quality facility with skilled and well-intentioned doctors and nurses.
So they searched for answers. As a result, they found purpose.
They knew the doctors and nurses tending to their mother did everything they could. But they also wanted to prevent what happened to their mother from happening to other patients.
And with that thought, the Rothmans founded what would become PeraHealth.
How Did They Do It?
After much time with the Sarasota hospital administrators, Michael and Steven determined the staff lacked a utility that allowed staff to see trends in patient health over time. Those trends were visible in electronic medical record (EMR) data, but that data went unused.
“Although the hospital was advanced with digital records, they couldn’t extract important data,” Michael Rothman said.
From 2008 to 2009, the two sons analyzed EMR data and made several key discoveries. This lead to the development of the Rothman Index.
“Why isn’t there a simple number that tells how sick you are?” Michael wondered.
The Rothman Index is the first algorithm that generates one simple score from the vast amount of data in the EMR. This creates a picture of any patient’s condition—any age, any disease, any unit. The score represents a patient’s condition in real time. It can be trended and visualized, warning care providers of deterioration before it becomes critical.
Simply put, it’s a quantifiable number on health.
With the assistance of George Almasi, a former IBM researcher, the first Rothman Index graph went live in 2009.
“Is the patient getting better or worse?” Michael asked. “It’s not always obvious. The Rothman Index brought a new level of capability in allowing doctors and nurses to see what’s going on with their patients.”
By 2012, they developed the first version of PeraTrend™ software, allowing clinicians to visualize and trend patient condition by utilizing the Rothman Index. Care providers were able to detect the subtle signs of deterioration earlier and intervene sooner, improving patient safety and outcomes.
Today, PeraHealth is continuing to transform healthcare through the intelligent use of data.
Currently, the Rothman Index is being used in 93 hospitals in 17 states, including Yale-New Haven Health System, Houston Methodist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia of UPMC, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Mission Health.
Growing Roots in Charlotte
While PeraHealth did not begin as a Charlotte startup, the company is making a large presence in the Queen City.
Started as primarily a virtual company, the company’s last CEO lived in Charlotte and made a strong case for the company having a geographic location.
Last November, Greg White took over as CEO, and PeraHealth is still growing. Currently, PeraHealth employs nearly 50 people, most of whom are based here in Charlotte.
“We will grow dramatically over the next three years,” White said.
The company will move from its SouthPark office to a larger South End facility later this year.
Want to learn more about Charlotte’s startups? Read our Founder Profiles.