While the joint venture between the two companies is bringing them into the health care IT field, it's also a personal situation for the leaders of MedicalMine, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif.
Autism affects the son of MedicalMine CEO Pramila Srinivasan and her husband, Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu. In addition, the daughter of Elizabeth Horn, MedicalMine's executive vice president of marketing and business development, and her husband, NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson, has also been diagnosed with the condition.
The executives came together to create ChARM (Children's Autism Recovery Map), a Web application to track the care of children suffering from autism and other chronic diseases.
"We wanted to help make parents aware of ChARM and the help it can provide to caregivers of children with autism," NetSuite's Nelson said in a statement.
"The goal is to understand the real problems faced by parents and physicians in everyday life," Srinivasan told eWEEK. By creating ChARM, MedicalMine aims to document the daily challenges of autism patients all in one place, Srinivasan said.
ChARM runs on Zoho's SAAS (software-as-a-service) application platform. The software will also use some of the same services as Zoho products, such as Web e-mail and messaging. Meanwhile, NetSuite provides the marketing support for MedicalMine.
In October 2010, MedicalMine will release an electronic medical record, or EMR, version called ChARM Physician, which will allow doctors to input their medical records into the system and share them with patients. Physicians will also be able to store a child's handwriting as well as photographs of rashes and bruises. In addition, they can upload video of seizures and log the occurrences. The product will also support third-party prescription handling.
For 2011, MedicalMine plans a third product called ChARM Research. In advance of the release, doctors are defining what types of data mining they're interested in, said Srinivasan. Medical researchers will be able to understand the workflow of a doctor's office, including the physical exam, details of encounter and objective evaluation, said Srinivasan.
"Researchers will have the ability to connect with the patients or their caregivers and get a comprehensive picture of what the child is going through on a daily basis," said Srinivasan. "We have all this information coming through the ChARMTracker portal, where the children are eating, where they're going to school. All of this will give the full picture to the researcher and clinicians."
Although ChARM began as a way to monitor autism, it's evolved into a way to track other types of conditions as well, such as diabetes and chronic fatigue.
"The goal is to capture more than just autism," she said. The product will also meet the needs of radiologists, immunologists, endocrinologists. "It will probably lose its origin a little bit," said Srinivasan.
"Technology is a crucial piece to help us solve the puzzle of autism," Vembu wrote in a statement. "Without a systematic collection of data about these children, from genomics to nutrition to environmental triggers, we will not find the answers to the unanswered questions about causation and prevention."
ChARMTracker was introduced at the Autism One Conference in Chicago on May 24, 2009.
"Research for autism is going to be explosive in magnitude in the future," Srinivasan said. "It's good for high tech to be deployed in this process to accelerate the growth of research and make it possible for children to have good standard of care and treatment outcomes."