Together Clinic, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based startup that is working on an app for connecting patients and providers, has raised $500,000 in seed funding, 60 percent of which came from local physician investors. The investment will allow the small company to hire a business development staff to accelerate the launch timeline for their app.
Together Clinic, founded six months ago by two physicians, has created an Android app (iOS is coming soon) for connecting patients to physicians, improving physician workflow, and reducing readmissions. The app will be available free of charge.
"What we’ve done is we’ve tried to essentially come up with a clinic visit that’s fully automated," cofounder Dr. Ryan Whitney, an interventional cardiologist at Bryan Health, told MobiHealthNews. "The patients log on to Together Clinic, they answer three to five disease specific questions, enter in some vitals, and then all of that goes into a risk prediction algorithm. And then on the back end, providers can pull in their panel of patients, which allows us to contact the physician upstream from something happening and before they end up in the ER."
Whitney and his co-founder Dr. Richard Thompson, who works as a cardiothoracic surgeon at Bryan Health, believe their company will stand out from other similar offerings because it's free and because it's created by physicians.
"With healthcare, everybody out there is trying to squeeze the physicians and the health systems for another $5,000 for some sort of software solution that reduces readmission rates and helps us stay in contact with patients," he said. "Rick and I are both providers, and from our end of things, we’re being squeezed by reimbursement. Physician reimbursements are dropping, hospital reimbursements are dropping. Nobody needs another costly solution. We thought in order to make a difference, we needed to get this out there and make it affordable for providers, and for patients. And free is about as affordable as you can get."
The company has a few ideas for making money off a free offering.
"I think we have some options, using the data we collect for benchmarking and data analytics," Whitney said. "I think there’s a model there. The other is partnering with health systems or partnering with payers that promote use of the product. We’ve had some real early discussions with some payers here locally about how to make that happen."
Right now, the software is only being used by Whitney and Thompson with between 40 and 50 patients who are beta-testing and providing feedback. Next month they're set to roll out to a group of local physician testers, including many of their new investors. A larger regional and then national rollout will follow. Additionally, the current app is focused on cardiology, but modules are in the works for COPD and diabetes.
"We’re created by providers, for providers just to revolutionize the continuum of care. That’s our goal," Whitney said. "We figure if we stick to our original vision of solving the problems of the everyday physician we should hopefully be successful."