Captricity Partners with FDA to Speed Data Extraction and Decrease Backlogs

November 18, 2013 by Jennifer Cobb

In March of this year, Taha Kass-Hout, MD, MS joined the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as their first Chief Health Informatics Officer (CHIO).  Fresh off a successful career at the CDC as an IT and Informatics change maker, Taha arrived at the FDA ready to help usher the organization into the era of cloud-based enterprise services.  In fact, Kass-Hout launched the first cloud program at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) while still at CDC, and has significant experience bringing new approaches to government technology. fda

When Kass-Hout arrived at FDA, one of the first things he became aware of was a backlog in an important database.  This one database receives about 900,000 submissions every year, 10% of which are submitted manually.   A backlog of these forms had developed.  Backlogs are typically handled by adding more manual data entry clerks.  Kass-Hout was interested in finding a more flexible, timelier, less costly and scalable solution with high quality results.

“After trying out different approaches, we identified a SaaS solution, Captricity, to help us address the paper jam with handwritten and typed reports,” Kass-Hout commented. “Captricity allows us to upload scans of reports received via mail, fax or PDF and get back structured, machine-readable data that is remarkably accurate, even for free-form handwriting.”

A partnership with the Federal government is unusual for a company of Captricity’s size, in a large part because of the level of security clearances needed to work with regulatory government data.  Captricity has cleared these hurdles, achieving an authorization to operate (ATO) within FDA for the initial backlog work.

This security clearance is pretty remarkable, given that Captricity is both cloud-based and relies on crowdsourcing for data verification.   Our approach to data management is so secure that Captricity successfully passed a stringent security review based on the FedRAMP security clearance protocols.

“With the backlog of paper and other forms requiring manual data entry growing every day, the speed with which organizations like FDA process them has become a matter of urgent importance,” said Kuang Chen, Captricity’s CEO and Founder. “Captricity offers a completely new approach to solving this problem. Our crowd guided model blends human intelligence with machine learning, in the cloud, to digitize the hardest documents very quickly. This enables our customers to get access to data from paper based processes and convert it into the information they need.”

The results?

Captricity is able to report that our work on these initial forms for FDA resulted in over 99%+ accuracy, at a price point 8 times below manual data entry.  Even better, Captricity can process even large volumes of documents in a day and we can scale almost infinitely.

As Kass-Hout concluded, "For the paper jam we experienced, it was originally estimated to take a very long time to overcome the backlog using the current approach of manual data entry. Captricity was part of a solution that was timelier, and we were able to achieve very high quality data at the fraction of the cost."

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