New York City-based Nomad Health, a startup that is building an online marketplace connecting doctors with freelance clinical work, has raised $4 million in Series A financing. First Round Capital and RRE Ventures led the funding round, with participation from .406 Ventures. The funding will allow Nomad to continue its nationwide rollout of its system that seeks to replace temporary work brokers in the healthcare industry.
“We’ve built the product, which is beautiful and functional, and now we want to get it in front of as many people as possible,” Nomad co-founder Alexi Nazem told MobiHealthNews. “There is a huge temporary staffing industry in the American healthcare system, but it is highly inefficient – the tools of the trade still involve a fax machine and telephones.”
Nomad, which is currently in beta testing, is a website where doctors and nurses can search for temporary work and hospitals and clinics can get temporary staffing. The goal, Nazem said, is to replace brokers altogether.
The idea for Nomad came from two neurosurgeons, one of whom approached Kevin Ryan, founder of Business Insider and Gilt Groupe, after speaking at an event at Yale University. Ryan was intrigued enough that he later gave the initial investment, co-founded the company along with Nazem and now serves as chairman.
More than 90 percent of hospitals and clinics in the United States use temporary doctors and nurses, which Nazem said costs the healthcare industry about $15 billion per year. Nomad envisions a future where freelance clinical work expands, with costs lowered by Nomad to the tune of 40 percent per year.
“We have just scratched the surface of a rapidly growing need for doctors,” Ryan said in a statement. “Nomad is reimagining the way in which doctors find work and hospitals find talent. Much the same way we saw an opportunity for technology to modernize news at Business Insider, with Nomad we see a chance to use technology to improve another industry stuck in the past.”
The Nomad platform will allow clinicians and health systems to communicate, organize information as well as assist in insurance, applications, travel arrangements and even payment. Nomad believes this will ultimately lead to more transparency and dynamic pricing in healthcare.
“We want doctors to only have to ask the question of whether they want the job, and hospitals or clinics only have to ask if they want to hire them,” Nazem said.
As an internal medicine specialist, Nazem has experienced firsthand the difficulty in getting temporary work.
“Recently, I was actually applying for a job that involved filling out a 92-page application by hand, which I then had to put in snail mail. I didn’t work that job until 10 months after that,” he said. “I think that’s pretty typical of the current system.”
Nomad is now testing its site with over 400 doctors and nurses and more than 30 hospitals and clinics around New York, New Jersey and a few other east coast states.
For now, Nomad is slowly inviting people on both sides – doctors and hospitals or clinics – plus looking into marketing through online ads, attending conferences and offline activities like building out campus ambassador programs. Down the line, they hope to develop an app.
“Anyone who needs to hire clinicians is a potential client for us,” said Nazem. “Over time, we will address a broader audience, and we see a lot of opportunities in telemedicine and retail clinics.”