SAN DIEGO — Donna and Daniel Stern were on a dream vacation when the nightmare hit. Daniel was feeling sick and was misdiagnosed with pneumonia. He spent five days in the hospital before returning home to see a doctor. That doctor immediately scheduled open heart surgery.
“He had a tumor removed from his pulmonary artery,” said Donna. “He was diagnosed with a very rare form of sarcoma.”
In fact, there have been less than 300 known cases of this specific cancer in the last 100 years.
“Because of the rarity of the disease there was no clear treatment path for him,” said Donna.
The Sterns started seeing specialists at hospitals all over the country. That meant countless labs and tests, but the different hospital systems couldn't talk to each other. As a result, one doctor couldn't see what another doctor had already done.
To help with her husband’s treatment, Donna carried a ridiculously heavy binder with all of Dan’s medical records all over the country. That gave doctors faster access to the information they needed, but it wasn’t the least bit convenient. Fortunately for Donna, a San Diego based start-up called Seqster changed everything.
“Donna is a perfect example of why Seqster is awesome,” said Ardy Arianpour.
Ardy co-founded Seqster in 2016. His company cracked the code to merging medical information. The official term is “interoperability” and a former health care executive recently told him - that's huge!
“We didn't even know what that was. We couldn't pronounce it, but we discovered interoperability is a $35 billion problem," said Ardy.
Simply put, Seqster can take information from several different medical providers and merge them into one place. For example, if you had blood tests over several years at Kaiser, Sharp, UCSD and Scripps, Seqster merges all those tests into one long timeline, making it easy to track changes.
It can also chart your wearable glucose monitoring device and even merge your DNA with your parents to see if you have a higher risk for certain diseases.
“I think it's life-changing,” said Donna, who is happy to be done with that bulging binder.
She also tells us Dan is doing great these days and offers this advice from lessons she’s learned the hard way.
“Whether it be your children's allergies or children's vaccinations, your DNA, whatever it is - you really need to be in charge and making sure you have your electronic health data in one place," said Donna.
You can use the code "sandiegocbs" to try Seqster for 30 days free.