Doc Halo raises $11M to add patient engagement to its clinical comms platform

By Jonah Comstock

Cincinnati, Ohio-based clinical communications provider Doc Halo has raised $11 million in a series A round led by Bane Capital Ventures. Cincinnati-based Refinery Ventures also contributed to the round. Doc Halo has been operating for seven years in the clinical comms space, but this is its first outside funding round; cofounders Dr. Jose Barreau and Dr. Amit Gupta, both former practicing physicians, self-funded the company initially with $5 million of their own money.

"We’ve been looking for the right partner and the right partner showed up in Bain Capital ventures," Barreau told MobiHealthNews. "They saw the growth opportunity on the patient engagement side. With so many hospitals and health systems using our platform, there’s a whole untapped market and we’re developing something called Patient Halo for that. They’re very interested in that. They’re very interested in us adding some more advanced functionality to the communications platform. It was really time to expand and to be able to invest more in product development."

Doc Halo is one of a handful of companies that offers a web and mobile-based replacement for pagers and consoles to facilitate hospital communications. In addition to its communication app, Doc Halo offers other features like on-call schedule management and critical lab integration.

"If you think about electronic health record, it’s documentation across the entire organization. And if you think about a clinical communications platform, it’s realtime communication across the whole organization," Barreau said. "You wouldn’t go inside a clinical communication platform to look up a patient’s record. But if you ordered a lab test stat, or if you ordered a lab test and the result came back critical, [you would get right away that through our platform], because it’s realtime. That’s really what distinguishes what we’re doing from what everyone else is doing. The market’s moving toward realtime communication, both in the acute and the ambulatory settings."

Doc Halo has large health system clients in all 50 states, including University of Maryland Medical System, Trinity Health, Covenant Health, Hospital Sisters Health System and Asante. Unlike some competitors, Doc Halo won't do roll-outs for single departments or even single hospitals within a health system. Instead, all its deployments are system-wide. 

The new funding will go toward continued development for the company particularly in the area of patient engagement, where the company is currently beta testing its Patient Halo app.

"Patients are engaged all over the place from outside sources: insurance companies, Walgreens, CVS, whatever," Barreau said. "But health systems have had trouble engaging their patients directly because patient portals are not that popular, they’re very poorly implemented, and they don’t give you a lot of engagement options. There’s only so many times, as a patient, you can look at your record or you can look at your lab result. So [our offering is] going to have a lot of functionality around communication and it’s going to have a lot of functionality around the offerings of the health system for the patient, bringing them closer to the health system."