Health Tech: Eric Rosow On How Diameter Health’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

An Interview With Luke Kervin

Luke Kervin, Co-Founder of Tebra
Authority Magazine

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There is a famous quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.” It’s a powerful statement. This is one of the fundamental reasons Diameter Health is helping create technology that can help make a positive by enriching clinical data to help impact/improve the visibility of economic stability, social community, context, access to health services, etc. This can help care teams make better decisions and improve access to the right treatments.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Rosow.

Eric Rosow has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare technology, new venture creation, and executive management and currently serves as CEO of Diameter Health. Eric is passionate about building high-performance entrepreneurial teams that challenge the status quo and create disruptive yet pragmatic healthcare IT innovations. A former member of the U.S. National Rowing Team and an active masters rower, Rosow also volunteered for more than a decade as a high school varsity crew coach for a program he helped co-found.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I grew up in Connecticut and went to Trinity College in Hartford. I majored in mechanical engineering and then got my master’s degree in biomedical engineering. I spent two years in a Clinical Engineering internship at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford as part of my master’s program. That’s where I developed a keen interest in applied technology in healthcare.

I also fell in love with rowing in college. I rowed crew during all four years at Trinity and continued to train afterward. I represented the U.S. National Rowing Team for several years and still compete at the Masters level today. Throughout those experiences, I had many talented coaches who showed me that the whole is more important than the sum of the parts when it comes to achieving one’s goals. The lessons I learned on the water are things that I carry with me still today.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

At the start of my career, when I was an intern at Saint Francis Hospital, I met my wife in the cafeteria!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am so grateful to have worked with numerous coaches, businesspeople, and clinicians over the years. One interesting story is that when my co-founder John D’Amore started Diameter Health, we had a shared vision to address and focus on what we believe is the most significant barrier in healthcare, data quality, and usability. We had heard of a physician named Larry Weed, a professor from the University of Vermont Medical Center. There’s this incredible YouTube video of him presenting a grand rounds lecture at Emory University more than 50 years ago.

Dr. Weed spoke eloquently about how the patient record cannot be separated from providing outstanding care for the patient. The record is the patient, and record-keeping is deeply entwined in the practice of medicine. He explained how vital the complete longitudinal record is in determining what the clinician does in the long run. So even 50 years ago, before the widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), Dr. Weed had the humility and the perception to recognize how the human mind can’t carry all that information without error.

He also made a cautionary prophetic statement that we’ll either be a victim of poor data quality or we’ll triumph because of it. As we look at the volume of data, two-plus years into a pandemic, this is a hauntingly accurate prophecy. Healthcare is the largest industry in our economy, so making the data we use in healthcare accessible, organized, and actionable has never been more critical. So, we are super excited about what the future holds to continue to improve data quality.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” — Epictetus.

Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher. Among his many teachings, he emphasized how important it is not to focus on how far we’ve come but on how far we have left to go. You get arrogant and complacent if you focus on how far you’ve come. If you focus on everything you must do and have left to learn, you get better. A great physicist once said, “That as our island of knowledge grows, so does the shoreline of ignorance.” Don’t get complacent or egotistical. Stay humble, stay curious and stay hungry.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Hard work, transparency, and authenticity/honesty. I am a pragmatic optimist, but you have to be brutally honest and stoic about timing when taking a product to market. In addition, it would be best to recognize that no one can do it alone, so you have to surround yourself with teams that challenge you and complement your strengths.

Through my experiences in rowing, I have come to appreciate the sport as a metaphor for life and business. Whether building a company or rowing a race, the core principles of teamwork, commitment, strategy, and trust are essential elements to achieving successful outcomes.

Throughout my career as an entrepreneur, I have endeavored to recruit the best colleagues who can apply their expertise and power in just the right way to maximize the potential and the impact of the team. I’ve always believed that the most important product an entrepreneur can create is other entrepreneurs and leaders. And as a team, Diameter Health is putting in the hard work to continually improve our technology in terms of functionality, scalability, and performance to deliver winning results for our customers. I can think of no goal more important than transforming how we deliver healthcare by delivering better data.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

The problem we are solving is that healthcare data is, simply put, very valuable in terms of the patient insights it delivers but very messy and difficult to use. There is a lack of standardization in documenting clinical data, which makes it challenging to use in downstream applications such as population health analytics. At the same time, it’s increasing in volume and availability.

So, organizations are initially challenged by the need to acquire data from health information exchanges, health systems, EHRs, and labs to get a full view of the health of a particular individual and ultimately of a population. The next challenge is to integrate all that into a data asset that can be used to transform their business and drive value. That’s even more complex because of the nature of clinical data, which is that it is inconsistent, non-standard, often disorganized, and comes from multiple sources. That’s the problem we solve at Diameter Health.

How do you think your technology can address this?

Diameter Health has been focused on solving the problem described above for nearly a decade. Our technology addresses this by a comprehensive process we call “upcycling data.” Upcycling is the process of taking raw clinical data and transforming it so it’s fit for a variety of purposes. For example, one objective might be helping a clinician make a better decision; another could be feeding clean, more accurate data into a machine-driven process such as a risk prediction engine; and yet another might be delivering data in an industry-standard format so it can be shared for care coordination, or giving patients access to their medical records via their smartphone. Our technology unifies, normalizes, and enriches clinical data from multiple sources and in many formats, generating a single source of truth to enable intelligent and seamless data exchange and improve clinical and business outcomes in real-time and at scale.

We know our technology addresses this because of the uptake in the market by leading organizations in healthcare and life insurance, information exchange, and technology. We have been able to help our customers and partners integrate that data into their enterprise architectures and make use of clinical data at scale to drive better health for individuals and populations and fuel a more efficient, less wasteful healthcare system.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

I joined Hartford Hospital as a clinical engineer, where I was immersed in the front lines of healthcare delivery. We took care of tens of thousands of patients every year. I got to work with numerous clinicians, tech vendors, administrators, and support personnel who showed me firsthand the role that technology can play in addressing healthcare challenges. I saw that the impact that timely, accurate data has — or does not have — on patient care is tremendous.

Data empowering better healthcare at scale is powerful. That’s the driver of why Diameter Health was founded. Diameter Health transforms clinical data — a vast but raw resource — into Upcycled Data that’s ready to use to uncover solutions, elevate efficiency, and deliver smarter care. It’s super exciting because clinical data can unlock massive opportunities for innovation, better workflows, and better outcomes.

How do you think this might change the world?

There has never been a more exciting time to be immersed in this world of healthcare IT, and in particular, data quality. We are entering an exciting new era as vast amounts of clinical data become more accessible to all.

Data holds enormous potential to transform the industry dramatically. The largest health systems, health plans, pharma companies, etc., invest significant time, effort, and resources into amassing data to reduce costs, improve outcomes and advance innovation. But the industry is stuck around effectively managing and deploying data at scale — particularly clinical data.

Diameter Health is changing that. We upcycle raw clinical data into a standards-based, interoperable asset to accelerate the availability and usability of actionable clinical data to transform healthcare operations and improve outcomes.​ Ultimately, better data means enhanced patient care and lower costs. And conversely, without better data, we can’t change the world.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

There is tremendous power in data, particularly as we look at personalized medicine and incorporate additional data sources, including genomics, social determinants, etc., to help provide the best treatment. But, unfortunately, you can never predict how people will use it. That is why this critical data needs to be protected. Numerous privacy and security regulations, such as HIPAA and HITRUST, are designed to do that.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example for each.)

There is a famous quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.” It’s a powerful statement. This is one of the fundamental reasons Diameter Health is helping create technology that can help make a positive by enriching clinical data to help impact/improve the visibility of economic stability, social community, context, access to health services, etc. This can help care teams make better decisions and improve access to the right treatments.

From these experiences, I have learned five things that can be used to successfully create a technology that can make a human impact include:

1. Understand the problem you want to solve

2. Focus, focus, focus

3. Invest in your people and the team

4. Don’t be afraid to pivot

5. Listen to your customers and the market — they will help you create technology that works

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

My advice is if you are trying to create or join a business that is making a positive impact, find mentors and do your homework. Be that pragmatic optimist!

Whatever business you are in, you have to understand the market you’re trying to serve, the problem, and where the gaps are. The other thing I would say is that competition is a good thing because it validates the market. Competition makes you better, but at the end of the day, there can be room for more than one winner if you’re among the best in class., e.g., Pepsi and Coke.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Leonardo da Vinci — the Italian polymath, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. He is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

http://www.twitter.com/erosow

https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-rosow/

https://www.diameterhealth.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/diameter-health/

https://twitter.com/diameterhealth

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

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Luke Kervin, Co-Founder of Tebra
Authority Magazine

Luke Kervin is the Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Tebra