WASHINGTON - Most people watched the State of the Union on television. But an emergency room doctor-turned-CEO from Colorado had a prime seat in the presidential box with first lady Michelle Obama.
Dr. Peter Hudson is the co-founder of iTriage, a health care technology company that boasts a free mobile app used by millions of people.
Hudson and his business partner, Dr. Wayne Guerra, created the iTriage app to help people make better health care decisions. The app provides information on symptoms, explains the possible causes and helps the user find the right medical help.
"It knows where you are so it can help you make decisions based on the resources that are around you," says Hudson.
The invitation to the address was a recognition of Hudson's work as an innovator, and of his entrepreneurial spirit that transformed a startup into a major player in the health care industry. His company now has about 100 employees.
Hudson says the founders of iTriage realized early on that it was possible to use smartphone technology to engage patients in health care decisions.
"And a lot of people love it," he says. "And they love having that information in their hands with them at all times."
The downloadable application is especially useful in times of crisis when people are scared and vulnerable. It uses GPS technology to provide directions to medical care and even helps patients pre-check into an emergency room or book an appointment with a doctor.
Hudson and Guerra were both ER veterans when they started iTriage, which was acquired about a year ago by insurance giant Aetna. The doctors had 20 years experience working in various emergency rooms. Between the two of them, Hudson estimates they saw 50,000 patients.
He says now they are able to take their expertise in another direction and help many more.
"In the last three years, we've gotten technology out that has helped about 8 million people," says Hudson. "Every second, one to two people open our application to try to get some information to make a better decision about their health care."
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