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Apostrophe has been conducting a pilot program with 20 Rural school districts over the past year (services will expand to other Centennial State companies this summer). Illustration by Stuart Bradford.

How 3 Local Tech Gurus Are Solving National Health Problems

Entrepreneurs in Denver and Boulder have figured out ways to keep medical records secure, reduce anxiety in youth, and cut down on healthcare costs.

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Entrepreneurs are similar to doctors in that they identify problems and prescribe ways to fix them. This month, business leaders get to play both roles at Denver’s 10.10.10, a 10-day idea generator that asks 10 entrepreneurs to tackle one of 10 problems in the health sphere, with the help of everyone from software developers to marketing specialists. We got the lowdown from three past 10.10.10 participants (all local folks!) who came up with viable ways to make Coloradans healthier.


Problem 1: The Security and Accessibility of Health Data
By early 2015, Frank Ricotta’s medical records had been stolen twice. The frustrating experience inspired the Denver entrepreneur to dream up BurstIQ, a secure, cloud-based repository for health information. The company has logged 25 billion transactions (medical interactions like having surgery or getting a prescription) without security problems and remains one of a few companies to successfully use blockchain technology—a digital ledger that monitors, remembers, and updates transactions—for health data.

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Problem 2: High Levels of Anxiety in Children
The proportion of kids with mental health issues is at a staggering 20 percent. Boulderite Pam Nurrie is trying to reduce that number through Brain Wrinkle Inc., which develops video games to coach youths through high-anxiety situations. Brain Wrinkle’s first game, Middle Way, became available via the website in March; in it, children learn simple breathing exercises after an interaction with a bully and an escape from gremlins (their personal demons). Nurrie hopes to release two new games by the end of 2017.

Problem 3: Soaring Administrative Health Care Costs
Sixty-one percent of American businesses act as their own insurance companies, collecting premiums from and handling claims for their staffs. Cheryl Kellond’s Denver startup, Apostrophe, helps cut down the administrative costs for these organizations. Here’s how: Apostrophe  pays the whole bill up front, and then patients settle their portions directly with Apostrophe later on. This reduces the quibbles for providers, so they’re able to charge less—savings that get passed on to the patients.

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