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10 Startups to Watch — PokitDok

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PokitDok from Charleston Business Journal on Vimeo.

By Liz Segrist
Published Nov. 8, 2015
From the Oct. 19, 2015, print edition

Lisa Maki had such debilitating back pain shooting down her legs, she could barely get out of bed in the morning or stand upright for a shower.

The CEO of PokitDok had a synovial cyst on her spine. She had the cyst removed, but a few months later, the pain came back and her doctor recommended fusing her spine. Maki, an active snowboarder and karate student, said she did not want to lose her mobility.

PokitDok co-founder Ted Tanner runs the company’s Charleston operations from a new, second-story office on Calhoun Street. (Photo/Liz Segrist)Lisa Maki got the idea for PokitDok when she had trouble finding the right treatment for her back pain. (Photo/Pokitdok)LEFT: Co-founder Ted Tanner runs PokitDok’s Charleston operations from a new, second-story office on Calhoun Street. (Photo/Liz Segrist)

RIGHT: Lisa Maki got the idea for PokitDok when she had trouble finding the right treatment for her back pain. (Photo/PokitDok)
In desperation, she posted a photo of her MRI on Facebook.

“Within an hour, I had a response about a growth hormone study being conducted at Roper St. Francis, one wing over from where I had been,” Maki said.

The hormone treatments worked, and the experience left Maki with the impression that a disruptive technology could help improve patient health care.

“If Google can scrape my email and proactively tell me if my flight is late, why couldn’t I Google to find a physician doing exactly what I needed? ... We realized as we were looking at the data infrastructure underlying the entire health care system that this software was built before search browsers were even really adopted,” Maki said.

Maki and co-founder Ted Tanner, the chief technology officer, launched PokitDok in 2011 with dual headquarters in Silicon Valley and Charleston.

Maki and Tanner wanted to make health care transactions simpler. The platform enables consumers to be able to shop directly online for health providers the way people can shop online for nearly anything else.

PokitDok’s platform aims to connect doctors with patients; provide new business functions for care providers and payers; and help electronic medical records and other digital health care services communicate, Tanner said.

Its application programming interfaces enable its health care transactions and platforms to be integrated into other companies’ apps, websites or products, Tanner said.

The tech firm now has 16 APIs that are used in apps for payment processing, eligibility checks, referrals, claims submissions, online scheduling, patient identity management and provider searches.

One API would enable a patient’s health care records to be shared between doctors’ offices and hospitals, regardless of whether someone is a new patient or recently moved. Maki said this would eliminate paperwork.

“On Amazon, they have my entire purchase history and an awareness of everything else I’ve bought online, and it makes recommendations to me. For health care, there is no way to build a health history of myself since I was born, no way to know what doctors I’ve been to throughout my life and no way to seamlessly share that information,” Maki said.

“We wondered why health care was not doing this. Health care is one of the most important relationships of our lives.”

The firm recently raised $34 million during a round led by Wayzata, Minn.-based Lemhi Ventures, following a $4 million Series A round in June 2013 led by New Atlantic Ventures and Rogers Venture Partners.

The company employs 51 people split between its San Mateo, Calif., and Charleston offices. The 10,000-square-foot PokitDok office on Calhoun Street, which Tanner runs, was recently renovated.

“With PokitDok, we say we invent the future by executing on brilliant ideas,” Tanner said. “So every single day, I see the edge being pushed as far as possible with software development, and there’s an immediate feedback loop every single day. Seeing your ideas come to fruition on a daily basis really excites me.”

Reach staff writer Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story had incorrect information regarding the company’s initial funding round. The story has been updated.


Read more about the 10 Startups to Watch:


Charleston Gourmet Burger Co.

Geekin Radio

Good Done Great


ISI Technology

Lowcountry Street Grocery


Pueri Elemental

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