A couple weeks ago I had the chance to attend a pitch contest here in Chicago that featured Human Practice (@HumanPractice), a local digital health startup with a unique vision for disrupting patient referrals that I found quite compelling.

Founded in December 2010, Human Practice has been totally bootstrapped to date by Moses Hohman, who has an extensive background in biomedical software, and his wife Sehjin Han, herself a University of Chicago trained surgeon.

Together, Moses and Sehjin interviewed hundreds of physicians and patients and one theme they found to be consistent between both was that patients want physicians recommendations they could trust, and the existing physician review sites simply did not offer evaluations that met this standard.

The key differentiator of the Human Practice model is that users can get trusted referrals from individuals whom are already part of their immediate social network by connecting their Facebook accounts to the Human Practice platform. The service is free for users, who can use it to review recommendations for primary care physicians, OB/GYNs, midwifes, allergists, gynecologists, and pediatricians among other sub-specialties.

Currently the service is focused on the Chicagoland area and I think the real challenge for the company going forward will be achieving scale. Utilizing the Facebook API to allow users to import and invite their friends to join the service is one step in the right direction.

Another key will be getting large provider networks to sign up to have their physicians listed, which is also a critical element of the company’s business model, as physicians will be allowed to update and extend their profiles for a small fee. So far, the company has managed to sign up one large provider here in the Chicagoland area and is in talks with several more.

You can see the pitch given by Human Practice co-founder Moses Hohman in the video below the transcript of my conversation with Moses.