Call9 raises $24M to replace seniors' ER visits with virtual visits

By Jonah Comstock
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Brooklyn-based Call9 has raised $24 million in a new round of funding. Redmile led the round, with additional investments from Index Ventures, Refactor, YCombinator, Western Technology Investments, and other undisclosed investors.

This is the second round of funding for the company, which raised $10 million in January 2016. The new funding will be used to scale Call9’s operations.

Call9's video visits service connects nursing home patients to an emergency room doctor. The company sets up the system in nursing home facilities and provides them with the mobile devices preloaded with their software. When a resident has a concern, the facility's nurse brings the tablet to them to make a call to a doctor on Call9’s system.

The company was predicated on the idea that nursing home residents are some of the most frequent emergency room visitors, but those patients are among the least well equipped for a stressful emergency room visit.

“Our most vulnerable patients experience hardships related to real-time access to care they urgently need and get shuffled across disparate care ecosystems and emergency settings, unnecessarily,” Dr. Timothy Peck, Call9’s founder, said in a statement. “The system was ripe for disruption and so we re-invented the 911 experience for nursing homes, improving care for this elderly patient population, while dramatically lowering costs.”   

The company also prides itself on combining high tech with high touch, as the hands on work of the telemedicine doctor is performed by onsite care specialists trained by Call9.

“Many new healthcare companies are applying technology to aggressively streamline care, but at the same time, they’re removing the human touch required for personalized medicine, making the shift from fee-for-service to value-based care virtually impossible,” Peck said. “Our motto as a company has always been ‘do right by the patient and all else will fall into place.’ This is only possible through new collaboration paradigms that couple technology and data with trusted care specialists who are on site and available to hold their patient’s hands.”

Call9 has seen significant cost savings from its efforts, with a Precision Health Economics study showing that the intervention prevented a hospital visit 80 percent of the time, saving the average 200-bed nursing facility $8 million per year, according to the company.