Healthcare messaging company Klara, which bills itself as a “professional WhatsApp” for medicine, has raised $3 million in funding in a round led by Lerer Hippeau and Project A Ventures. Existing investors, including German VC Atlantic Labs, also participated.
The new funding will be expand Klara’s messaging platform, which will connect medical teams and patients to centralize all patient-related communication. The goal is to, in the company's words, “build the central nervous system of healthcare, connecting all medical providers, patients and other medical professionals such as pharmacies, labs and specialists together on one platform.”
With Klara, all members of the medical team can send messages, lab results and photos to patients, who can respond, and everything is documented for export to the patient’s EHR. Clinical care teams can also assign patients to staff members, leave internal notes, and refer patients to colleagues. Information is displayed based on a level of importance and timing, so any member can join the conversation at a time that makes sense at the point of care.
“We see healthcare as a network, with doctors and patients being the most important nodes communicating with each other,” Simon Bolz, cofounder and CEO of Klara said in a statement. “If we want to digitize healthcare, we have to build something that both medical staff and patients love using everyday to communicate."
Bolz said time and miscommunication from phone tag and unclear information is the core of the problem Klara is seeking to improve. Since security concerns render email a non-viable alternative and fax is outdated, messaging is the only thing that makes sense.
“Messaging has turned out to be the perfect fabric to build this network, as it has already become the standard way to communicate in our personal and particular lives.” Bolz stated.
Klara, which was founded in 2013, currently has several hundred provider clients who communicate with thousands of patients. Users have reported that it improves communication and quality of care. For investors, they see health messaging as a key area of growth for the mobile health market, as industry reports point to high percentages of clinicians who belive apps are central to patient health.
“We noticed that patients were demanding more from their healthcare providers, and the providers, and the providers were in search of more operational efficiency. Finding one platform that solves those problems, as Klara does, is pretty unique,” said Lerer Hippeau Ventures partner Taylor Greene in a statement. “I was first exposed to the platform while making a doctor’s appointment and it was so easy to use and seamless that I had to find a way to track down the company and invest. That doesn’t happen to me often.”