“Brainstorming and working with BioEnterprise, Cleveland Clinic and others in the region has been great,” said Pribanic. “These are people who truly understand the complexities of the healthcare industry and provide real world guidance.”
Virginia Pribanic is president and CEO of MedRespond, an online communications company combining artificial intelligence, search and streaming media to provide interactive, personalized, relevant and inexpensive communications solutions for healthcare enterprise clients, customers, patients, and personnel.
Pribanic started her career in the steel industry, breaking glass ceilings in multiple positions in finance, marketing, sales and systems. This led her to start her own companies, partnering with innovative people and high-impact technologies.
After earning a MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University, she collaborated with the university’s interdisciplinary Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) on new projects at the forefront of speech recognition, broadband and high-end video. ETC was co-directed by the late Randy Pausch, a Computer Science professor who later delivered his inspirational Last Lecture.
Looking for the most impactful applications of emergent technology that used video to create fully relatable content, Pribanic concluded the healthcare industry best fit the bill and launched MedRespond.
MedRespond created “Fit for Surgerysm,” a limited access Conversational Patient Engagement System for the Allegheny Health System. Persons scheduled for cardiac surgery are given an access code to view the program prior to surgery, reinforcing information provided to them by their cardiac team on how to prepare for the day of surgery and recovery. Sharing of access codes by the patient allows family and caregivers to learn about surgery and recovery, while preserving confidentiality.
“The videos are uniquely produced as a dialogue, nearly replicating one-to-one patient-physician interaction where the patients see surgeons and have their questions answered,” said Pribanic. “The flow of information is guided through analytics and linguistics.”
MedRespond demonstrated that providing information directly to the patient through their proprietary platform can lead to better outcomes for patients, and consequently, reduced costs for the payer. Based on this success, the company is building new patient engagement modules in cardiology, oncology and transplantation.
MedRespond has already created additional communications tools for retailers to improve adherence to prescriptions; professional associations to expand their continuing education offerings; healthcare educators to provide nutrition and diet coaching; advocacy groups to advise their constituencies on innovations; and individual consumers to get answers on questions related to healthcare, medication and diet.
In early 2017, Matthew Miller, BioEnterprise’s Vice President of Health IT and Services, met Pribanic and encouraged her to enter MedRespond in the inaugural Medical Capital Innovation Competition. Based on critical feedback from industry mentors on the first day of the competition, she rewrote her company pitch and won first place (and $50K) in the Professional Division.
“I couldn’t believe I took first prize, given the level of talent and the caliber of people and ideas that were there,” said Pribanic. “I was honored and thrilled that what we do resonated.”
Since winning the competition, the BioEnterprise team has introduced Pribanic to key decision-makers, funders and clinical institutions, and provided critical business development and public relations support.
Building on these collaborations, Pribanic is expanding MedRespond from Pittsburgh to an office at Cleveland’s Global Center for Health Innovation. “Brainstorming and working with BioEnterprise, Cleveland Clinic and others in the region has been great,” said Pribanic. “These are people who truly understand the complexities of the healthcare industry and provide real world guidance.”