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This Colorado startup is rethinking lung cancer screening


In 2014, Aki Alzubaidi, an interventional pulmonologist, diagnosed a patient with stage IV lung cancer. The man, who was Alzubaidi’s age, was healthy and not a smoker.

With this experience in mind, Alzubaidi wanted a better system for catching lung cancer at an earlier stage. In a phone interview, he explained why abnormalities aren’t always acted upon. Say a patient has to visit the hospital. While a clinician may identify a pulmonary nodule in the individual, the issue might get forgotten after the patient leaves, especially if they’re in the hospital for a different reason.

“Your PCP doesn’t know that abnormality is in the report, or you may not have a PCP,” he said.

Alzubaidi went on to create Eon, a Denver, Colorado-based startup, and its software application called EonDirect. (Until May 2018, the company was called Matrix Analytics and its tool was named LungDirect.)

EonDirect is a cloud-based application for lung cancer screening and incidental nodule management. In addition to identifying abnormal findings, it can help organizations track patients and automate data entry and communication. The tool, which can integrate with the EHR, also enables entities to automatically audit and submit to the Lung Cancer Screening Registry and other clinical trial registries.

The goal is to ensure providers get the right data so they can better care for their patients.

Eon’s current clients include Cleveland Clinic, LifePoint Health, MUSC Health and HealthONE. Alzubaidi, who serves as the company’s co-CEO, also listed El Camino Hospital and Colorado Canyons Hospital as customers.

Notably, the startup has received an investment from Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, who is also one of Eon’s strategic advisors.

The Denver company wants to bring its capabilities to more than lung cancer patients. Alzubaidi said Eon has executed contracts for other disease states.

Looking ahead, the startup plans to increase its footprint in the field. “To me, it’s about decreasing the overall cost of healthcare [and] creating technology for hospitals to allow them to compete in a market that’s ever-changing,” Alzubaidi said.

Photo: blueringmedia, Getty Images

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