betterPT gets $1.5 million to connect patients to physical therapists via mobile app

By Jonah Comstock
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New York City-based betterPT has raised $1.5 million for its mobile platform for connecting patients to physical therapists. Loeb Holding Corp was the sole investor in the seed round.

The genesis of the company grows out of a law recently passed in 29 out of 50 states known as “direct access”, which allows patients to get up to 10 physical therapist visits without a prescription and still be reimbursed for those visits. 

“That’s a big deal in the physical therapy world and it’s a big deal especially in New York because of concierge medicine,” betterPT Cofounder and CEO Greg Peters told MobiHealthNews. “So we looked at this as an opportunity to build technology to connect people who were looking at physical therapy who didn’t have a script, nor do they need one now … So in the application we provide the ICD10 diagnostic and treatment codes that are sent directly through the application from the patient to the health insurer. We are trying to really capture everything that would take place from the moment that you hurt your ankle to the moment that you get your treatment, and then schedule your next treatment.”

Peters said that patients often travel to a city for surgery, but need a physical therapist close to where they live. Right now, they might get a recommendation from their surgeon for a physical therapist or find one using Google. The hope for the betterPT app is that patients will be able to search by location, insurance, specialty, date or time for a physical therapist. The mobile app will be free for patients, but betterPT will charge physical therapists with a software-as-a-service business model. Not only will it make it easier to find a physical therapist, it also greatly cuts down on the paperwork on both the patient side and the back-end.

“I believe betterPT will improve both the patient’s and therapists’ experience on many fronts,” cofounder and chief medical officer Dr. Stephen Fealy said in a statement. “This is an incremental improvement to the traditional patient/therapist experience. One in which the patient will be able to book a therapy visit through an app and the physical therapist can simultaneously provide the best care for their patients.”

Right now, betterPT is working with concierge care providers, but in the near future the company will expand to work with in-clinic physical therapists as well. After that, they’ll look to expand beyond New York City. Right now, betterPT is facilitating about 80 visits a week.

“We’re looking at this from a very laser-focused approach,” Peter said. “It’s a very old practice, physical therapy, and all we’re trying to do is make very small incremental change, but the impact is gigantic. The application is simple, but the actual impact is potentially huge.”