Iris Plans, a remote advanced care planning service, gets $5.1M

By Jonah Comstock

Austin, Texas-based Iris Plans, which offers remote video visits to facilitate advanced care and end-of-life planning, has raised $5.1 million. Activate Venture Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners led the round, with additional participation from Better Ventures and other undisclosed investors. 

“The patient journey through serious illness brings far too much unnecessary stress and conflict for patients and their families. This also leads to higher out-of-pocket costs to the family on care that does not meet their hopes or goals,” Dr. Stephen Bekanich, cofounder and chief medical officer of Iris Plans, said in a statement. Prior to his association with the company, Bekanich has created palliative care programs, which include advanced care planning, at Ascension Health and the University of Utah Healthcare. 

The goal of Iris Plans is to reduce wasteful spending in the healthcare system tied to end-of-life care. According to the company this "unwanted, unnecessary, and non-beneficial care" wastes $210 billion every year. 

While advanced care planning and palliative care are growing in popularity, Iris Plans is the first company to deliver that planning remotely by technology, which allows it to scale more readily.

The company partners with large health systems and insurers to offer its service for free to people with serious medical conditions. Via a computer or tablet, patients connect to specially trained facilitators who educate patients about their options, walk them through the decision-making process, and then help them to create clear and official advanced planning documents.

“This funding will allow thousands of people to take control of their care, avert family crises, and avoid unnecessary care which is not in line with their wishes,” Cofounder and CEO Steve Wardle said in a statement.