Encino, California-based mPulse Mobile has raised an additional $8.3 million for its healthcare messaging service, bringing the company’s total funding to around $10 million. HLM Venture Partners led the round, while OCA Ventures, Merrick Ventures, and Jumpstart Ventures, which invested $1.7 million in mPulse Mobile last year, also contributed.
mPulse Mobile spun out of secure mobile messaging company mobileStorm about a year ago to focus on the healthcare sector, which was the fastest growing sector for mobileStorm.
mPulse Mobile's CEO Chris Nicholson left Humana where he was the COO of Humana’s Health and Productivity segment to join mPulse. At the time, he was an advisor to mobileStorm — and Humana was one of mobileStorem’s first healthcare customers.
“It was a really great time for me after spending over a decade in the healthcare space in the [health] plan world and leading innovations teams to really build a solution that was very near the marketplace and that was underserved,” Nicholson told MobiHealthNews.
The company’s secure messaging offering is designed for various healthcare organizations including payers, pharmacies, providers, and medical device companies. The program is tailored to reach and engage these organizations' patients, members, and customers.
“We started out with what I call a lot of core solutions that focused on admin cost reduction and improving healthcare outcomes, and we have done an amazing job at that,” Nicholson said. “The shift and part of where we are leveraging the investment has been in the analytics space and improving our capabilities further to improve the relevancy and context of the messaging. The investment here is around some tools that are enabling us — that we have proven out and are now implementing — to leverage that analysis, natural language processing, and text messaging in real time.”
mPulse messages can be sent via SMS, a secure messaging service on a website, or integrated into the healthcare organization’s existing app as its messaging function. Although the messages are initially all automated, if the user has an issue that need additional support, the service routes them to a real live person, who coule be a provider’s admin staffer, a call center employee, or a care provider.
“We built a language library where someone may reply back and say, ‘This is really helpful but I have a question about my benefits’ and because of those tags and the word benefits, we would reroute them to a benefits team,” Nicholson said. “If they say something like, ‘I won’t be able to make my appointment, can I reschedule?’ we’ll route that over to a scheduling department. Or they may respond and say ‘I’m depressed, this medication is making me feel lightheaded and depressed.’ and then we can connect them to the appropriate care team as well. Those are some of the subtleties that make them feel like they are interacting with an individual.”
mPulse Mobile works with a number enterprise clients across the payer, provider, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries. Some of its payers customers include Humana, Kaiser, Inland Empire Health Plan, Highmark. Some of its customers were long time mobileStorm customers who were carried out as part of the spin out. Although mPulse's client base is mostly payers currently, Nicholson said the provider sector is one of the fastest growing because there are so many use cases to reduce admin costs.
“But I’ll tell you the one that is the most fascinating that we’ve gotten the most interest in lately has been in the pharma world with medication adherence,” Nicholson said. “They really love the fact that we can manage adverse event monitoring and that’s such a critical piece when a pharma company rolls out a new medication that allows for us to actually leverage the messaging. And all that can be routed back to the pharma company. We have seen tremendous interest in that area for the last two months.”
Nicholson said that although they can’t disclose the names, they recently signed a large pharmaceutical company as well as a medical device maker.