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Flashback: Health Startup Still Thrives

Data mining for healthier hospitals.

Data mining for healthier hospitals.

Photo courtesy of CareFusion

One year after the 2001 high-tech market crash, our May 2002 issue of Business Alabama took a look at who was still shining among Alabama’s emerging technology companies, “Surviving and Thriving after the Crash.”

The greatest luster was coming from a two-year-old biotech company called MedMined Inc. Founded in 2000, MedMined was capitalized at $2 million by Southern Technologies Fund II in 2001 — the time when dotcoms were flashing and falling like a meteor shower.

Although reliant on electronic data transfer through the Internet, MedMined was not a dotcom and had a solid market potential — $4.5 billion a year that hospitals spend to fight hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections.

The 30 infection reports each hospital files daily, covering 20,000 possible causes of infection that strike a U.S. total of 2 million patients a year, were “mentally impossible for even a genius level nurse to track down,” writer Verna Gates told our readers.

It was a field ripe for harvesting by three founders out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, working with the UAB Office for the Advancement of Developing Industries — the business incubator now known as Innovation Depot. They developed the algorithms to turn all that data into tracks (nosocomial infection markers, NIMs) pinpointing causes of infection.

“The biological smoke alarm leads you to the fire,” said the company’s COO G.T. LaBorde. “We use artificial intelligence to make a huge leap forward in infection control.”

MedMined teamed first with the Alabama Hospital Association and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, to sell the company’s Data Mining Surveillance System to hospitals across Alabama. Sales soon expanded to hospitals and Blue Cross groups across the country. In 2006, the publicly traded giant Cardinal Health Inc. paid over $100 million for MedMined. The next year, Cardinal spun off MedMined as part of a group of separately traded health service companies called CareFusion. The MedMined office of San Diego-based CareFusion is still located in Birmingham.

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