The 31-year-old doesn’t lack for vision. He sees the company’s core business growing to about 150,000 doctors’ offices in the U.S. by 2020, up from 40,000-plus today. He estimates Outcome Health serves about 20 percent of doctors’ offices nationwide. “I’m confident we can get to 70 percent,” he says.
Outcome Health already had been growing fast when it bought AccentHealth, one of the big, traditional players in the space.
The acquisition made Outcome the largest player in the health care space for digital video networks outside the home, according to PQ Media, a research firm in Stamford, Conn. It’s also one of the five largest digital network operators overall. Digital point-of-care networks are the fastest-growing niche, said Patrick Quinn, CEO of PQ Media. One of Outcome’s advantages over many competitors, he said, is its ability to micro-target advertising based on location.
Now, with additional capital, it plans to grow faster. “Last year we’ve had many months in which we’ve added more than 1 percent of all physicians in a single month,” Shah said. He plans to invest in international growth, new products, as well as other health IT companies and startups.
Shah’s company started out in 2006, providing health-related video content to television screens in doctors’ office. It later added tablets and large video displays in waiting rooms and exam rooms. Physicians use the content to educate patients about treatments for chronic conditions such as diabetes. Pharmaceutical companies pay to advertise alongside the educational content, which allows them to reach potential customers in a more targeted way. Outcome Health generally is able to show advertisers measurable increases in sales at those doctors’ offices.
But Shah wants his company to play a much bigger role because it’s at the intersection of patients, doctors and data. The company already is trying to better connect patients with clinical trials, which often struggle to locate participants. “We see a vision where every exam room you step into knows you and it knows your clinical data, knows your preference maps, and it has all available information,” Shah said. “We just think that’s going to be a great business. We think that’s going be a very profitable business. But we’re going to need to make a lot of investment to build it.”
The company has exploded in the past few years, doubling headcount last year from about 250 people to more than 500 before acquiring Accent, which had about 160 employees. It plans to move to a new 400,000-square-foot headquarters next year in River North.
Heady valuation aside, Shah and his investors talk about Outcome Health’s potential scale in the context of Facebook. “They’ve built out this platform that could touch almost every single person in this country,” McCall said. “The moment of truth is when doctor and patient are talking to each other. It really is exciting to think through what’s possible.”
If Outcome Health goes public at the scale Shah envisions, it also could be the sort of flagship tech company that elevates Chicago to the top-tier status it’s been seeking since Groupon took off. “It has the ability to dramatically change the Chicago landscape,” McCall said. “It’s a tentpole-type of company. They want to take it public so it’s iconic and around for years to come.”
Even if it doesn’t get that far, Outcome Health has moved the needle, said Ira Weiss, a partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners. “We need more $5 billion to $10 billion Chicago tech success stories. We have zero.”