Parachute Health raises $5.5M to digitize 'archaic' medical equipment orders

By Dave Muoio
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New York-based Parachute Health — a startup looking to digitize the ordering of durable medical equipment (DME) and other critical medical equipment for patients leaving the hospital — told MobiHealthNews that it has secured $5.5 million in seed funding over the past few months.

The company’s investors include Greater New York Hospital Association Ventures, Loeb Holding Corporation, former UnitedHealth Group executive Anthony Welters, former McKesson Extended Care president Fred Browne, and other unnamed investors.

“Instead of using the fax machine, we look to eliminate that archaic workflow and insert in a seamless and easy digital way of ordering all of the needs a patient has during discharge,” Parachute CEO David Gelbard told MobiHealthNews. “We enable a discharge coordinator to figure out how to take care of a patient. … They don’t [need] to use the archaic fax machine anymore, they just get to use a digital ordering platform to figure out whether or not to electronically order and prescribe what the patient needs at the time of discharge.”

Parachute’s software-driven platform holds a number of key advantages over fax-driven equipment ordering, such as electronic delivery confirmation, up-front notification of patients’ insurance coverage benefits, and support for convenient digital messages between parties. Perhaps more important is how the digital platform can quickly identify and reduce errors in an equipment order that often prevent patients from receiving the equipment they need for weeks at a time, Gelbard — who witnessed these complications first-hand when his father was discharged following back surgery — explained.

“Right now it’s a paper and fax-based process: they print off the EMR notes, they fill out a paper vendor order form, and then they send both of those to a supplier, in which case, over 80 percent of the time, it's incorrect. [And when] there is an error on it, [it] starts this back-and-forth process to rectify the issues,” he said. “[Hospitals] can’t discharge someone without feeling somewhat confident that the patient’s oxygen tank is going to be there. The problem is that 15 percent of the time they don’t get it correct — they discharge someone and the oxygen tank never shows up, which becomes a painful situation.”

After launching a beta version of its product last year in New York City, Parachute’s platform has spread to 60 percent of the New York healthcare market and 20 different states “without having a sales or marketing presence anywhere,” Gelbard said. The announced seed funding, as well as an in-progress Series A round, will primarily be used on a more concerted effort toward expanding into these and other markets nationwide, he continued.

“We’re not adding time to someone’s workflow, and I think that’s a key differentiation. We’re just replacing a really inefficient and antiquated workflow with a modern and digital solution that allows people to take care of their patients more effectively. My belief is that every hospital in the country could utilize our tool,” Gelbard said.

Along with Gelbard, who was previously an investment professional at Falcon Investments, Parachute’s executive team includes Chief Technology Officer Matt Pestritto, formerly of Plated; SVP of Growth Steve Zerneri, formerly of Uber; and COO Zachary Fleitman, formerly of Kinsa.