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When Abdullah Norain was a resident surgeon at Mayo Clinic and frequently traveled to conferences, he was struck by the lack of an ability to continue the stimulating conversations he had with his peers.
“After each conference, researchers and clinicians would want to connect and extend the conversation, but there wasn’t a place or forum for that,” he said. “They can’t really go on Twitter or LinkedIn because there are HIPAA concerns with social media.”
To address this problem, Norain began building PeerCapsule in February with his co-founder and chief technology officer King David Martins. The Phoenix-based startup, which is developing a collaboration platform for professional healthcare associations, recently received an influx of funds from the AWS Impact Accelerator program, a $30 million commitment to young startups led by founders from underrepresented groups.
PeerCapsule is building a platform for national and regional provider associations that would enable the groups to not only engage their members internally, but also give members the opportunity to network and collaborate with professionals from other specialties and organizations.
When professional medical associations are onboarded to PeerCapsule, their members join the platform. These associations will use PeerCapsule as a central hub for their members to receive information about dues and events, as well as a secure way for their members to collaborate with professionals across the country for better collaboration and research.
“If someone is working on a research project and would like to find a collaborator, they can easily do that on the platform rather than having to wait until the annual conference to present the abstract to see who’s interested,” Norain said.
PeerCapsule is already testing its platform with a small group of physicians and beginning to onboard national and regional provider associations. The startup is onboarding these groups one-by-one to understand their members’ needs and how the platform can be tweaked to best meet them.
Norain said PeerCapsule is different from competitors, such as Doximity, because the startup works directly with provider associations and allows members to pursue clinical research with members of different organizations. Doximity, which calls itself the “LinkedIn for doctors,” makes most of its money from firms that are tying to recruit physicians or drugmakers seeking to promote their products. PeerCapsule, on the other hand, is still working with provider organizations to best determine its business model and how it will charge these groups for the use of its platform.
AWS’ funding will help Norain and his team as they continue to develop PeerCapsule’s platform. The funds — which comprise a $225,000 grant, $125,000 in cash and $100,000 in AWS cloud credits — will also help PeerCapsule build tools to jumpstart clinical research on the platform.
“The goal is that researchers will be able to start building research datasets on our platform and ultimately present and exchange that information with members,” Norain said. “That way, the platform is a cohesive place where medical knowledge is incubated and generated.”
Photo: elenabs, Getty Images
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