WelVU raises $1.25M for physician-customized patient engagement tools

By Aditi Pai
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WelVUPatient education company WelVU raised $1.25 million from a group of angel investors last week.

CEO Mark Friess told MobiHealthNews the company's basic WelVU app has seen 3,000 downloads from providers after a few months in the iTunes store. This year, the company launched two new products -- a WelVU Plus app and WelVU Premium app.

WelVU's basic app for iPads and iPhones helps physicians create personalized health information videos for patients complete with medical illustrations, images, and conversation topics based on conversations that providers have with their patients. The personalized videos are sent to the patient through a secure platform, but physicians can post general topic videos to their YouTube channel or website.

With the app, physicians can find anatomical and physiological images for educational presentations and add their own images, content, and videos to a presentation. WelVU Plus allows physicians to prescribe these videos or have their staff prescribe these videos to patients and WelVU Premium allows physicians to integrate the app with electronic medical records and bring in patient-specific information, such as the patient's X-Rays and blood pressure readings. So far WelVU has integrated with electronic medical record maker InterSystems. Up until recently the company charged $19.99 per month for monthly licenses and $199.99 per year for annual licenses.

WelVU adjusts the price of the app for the different versions, but the pricing system is also based on how many physicians are using the technology from a specific organization each year. For hospitals, the pricing is based on a per-bed system. Physicians will be able to license the app on a month to month or annual basis and the annual license  will represent 10 months worth of a monthly license.

The company also currently offers two other apps, CardioVU and OrthoVU, which focus on cardiology and orthopedics patient education. Friess said these apps were part of an early approach and plans to phase them out and offer specialties to all doctors.

WelVU recently changed the pricing system so physicians could prescribe an unlimited number of videos to patients. For the more advanced platforms, physicians can also add their own recording and voice overs to the videos. Moving forward, the company plans to build out a content library, build out the suite of apps, and launch apps for Android too.

Jiff offered a similar product, JiffPad, in 2012, but discontinued it and pivoted the year after. At the time Jiff CEO Derek Newell explained to MobiHealthNews that JiffPad "was downloaded by thousands of people and used regularly by them. But JiffPad, while an interesting product, was never going to transfer to a big opportunity."