Introducing Story Health

Tom Stanis
5 min readDec 8, 2020

Poetically it happened while I was visiting the “Body Worlds” exhibit. My mother-in-law called to tell me that my father had just had a stroke. Wooden framed slides of brains that had suffered strokes hung in front of me, coldly illustrating what my father was going through in that moment. My sympathetic nervous system was firing, and I was now asking all the questions…

My father survived his stroke, but the damage was severe. Today, years later, he struggles to walk around the house with support; his recovery has not been easy. Walking the path, as a caregiver, from ICU to home, has been a great teacher for me into the opportunities for our healthcare system to do better.

Neurologists and neurosurgeons saved his life in the hospital, and when he was finally discharged, we sought to continue this care team as he recovered at home. Here we found ourselves in the challenging chasm between specialists and primary care. My father was recovering, but he still had issues that needed treatment. Increasing shaking in his right hand constantly ailed him. Was it a partial seizure or a tremor? Peaceful sleep was not happening. Depression and anxiety were a constant struggle to manage.

This gap between the intensivist and the coordinating primary care physicians is a place where many of us fall behind. Our specialists are overburdened, unable to manage the constant tweaking and deluge of data being generated from patients at home. Primary care is often out of the loop, not knowing or having confidence to optimize a complex ongoing recovery process. My father fell into this hole.

Our Vision For A Better Health Story

This story illustrates the motivation and inspiration for our new company, Story Health.

Imagine your family member has a terrible disease and they are at home, recovering from an intense treatment. We all want a world-leading specialist clinician team caring for them. We want this team watching their progress every moment and adapting therapy to meet their needs while accounting for our loved one’s personal situation. You can imagine them, sitting by the bedside, watching every little change and incorporating that into their ongoing plan in their head. You can imagine the team explaining to you what they are watching for and acting quickly when changes are necessary. Our vision is to make this a reality for all by using technology to magnify the reach of clinicians.

We Achieve This Through AI + Virtual Care

There are two components that we are building to make this happen: Artificial Intelligence to scale clinical interpretation, and Virtual Care to enable implementation at scale. First, we develop AI that can integrate all the various forms of data about a patient and match them against the leading clinical guidelines to assist clinicians in making medical decisions. Second, we take the results of these decisions and implement them at scale with patients virtually. These two components of clinical decision support, combined with virtual care modalities, create adaptive virtualized care, a new model of care that dramatically expands the capability of specialists.

AI Helps Specialists Understand And Act on Data

The dream of longitudinal datasets that direct precise care has long been a vision of technologists and clinicians. Too often this leads to more data dumped on clinicians. We build algorithms that deliver insights and action from this data. Our software is built to understand medicine at the core, through guidelines and evidence. Machine learning is used to enhance this by extracting key observations from volumes of medical notes, adapting guidelines based on a patient’s individual situation, and stratifying risk for patients. All of this is done inside of the clinicians existing Electronic Medical Record, seamlessly integrating with their workflow. Using these technologies and working with healthcare providers in the clinic, we build systems that simplify and enhance utilizing data.

Virtual Care Allows Us To Scale

The growth of virtual care during this pandemic has been a silver lining, but we are only scratching the surface of what is possible. Video visits are a great start, but we need to go beyond to build a longitudinal understanding of how a patient’s disease and treatment is progressing. Having more frequent interactions with a patient allows for more adaptive, nimble approaches to therapy. We involve our families and caregivers more directly in the care so that they have the knowledge to become more effective partners in managing a loved one’s care. This is an entirely new way of interacting with a health system that is more adaptive, efficient and ultimately leads to better outcomes.

We Work With Health Systems

Working with health systems means understanding the often irrational bespoke system that is health care today. While many technology companies have chosen to give up on the healthcare system and start fresh, we believe that the existing doctor-patient relationship is a strong bond that will continue to be at the core of healthcare into the future. Health System partnerships are at the core of our business.

We Are Focused On The Most Challenging Conditions

Most of the tech companies that have been trying to reform healthcare have focused on the young, healthy population. We are interested in the much more difficult and costly part of the system: complex, elderly patients with serious illnesses that fall in the specialist / primary care gap. This means building technology that is easy to use for seniors and doesn’t involve tricky bluetooth pairing, forgotten passwords, and complex app stores. Usability for all is at the core of our beliefs of what is necessary to succeed in healthcare.

Our Team Brings Together Healthcare and Technology

This cutting-edge work needs a new kind of team that blends together technologists and clinicians. Too many tech companies misunderstand medicine and healthcare, and too many clinicians miss out on the latest technology design patterns. This exciting fusion of healthcare with tech is where all of the ideas get brought out and the best solutions arise.

Our team includes myself, Tom Stanis, former co-founder at Verily and long time Google Engineer. Dr. Ashul Govil is our medical and clinical leader, a practicing cardiologist who understands the reality of care delivery in America and the places where technology can solve problems. Nikhil Roy, a product manager with many years experience building medical products such as Onduo, rounds out the team with a consumer design focus. Our investors Lynn Chou O’Keefe from Define Ventures, and Hemant Taneja and Quentin Clark at General Catalyst, are serious healthcare investors who have a track record of producing superior healthtech businesses.

Stay Tuned!

We have just started this narrative and will have more to tell as we build and learn. We look forward to bringing together each of the specialists’, primary care, and patient’s stories with technology that can scale clinician’s best possible care to people who need it the most.