Los Angeles-based SnapMD has raised $5.3 million from Shea Ventures, TYLT Labs, and Whittier Ventures for its telemedicine offering that connects providers to their existing patients. SnapMD COO George Tierney told MobiHealthNews this brings their total funding to $5.9 million.
The idea for SnapMD came from Dr. Rustin Morse, who was working at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and wanted to create a tool, using technology, to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits.
"The basics of it was ‘Can we use mobile technology in order to interface with the parents before they came into the emergency room to avoid them having to come in, in the first place?' ..." Tierney said. "All emergency rooms in the United States lose money. They cost the hospital money. It’s exacerbated at a children’s hospitals, as you can imagine. First-time parents, child looks the wrong way and you're running to the emergency room. It’s a really big problem.”
Morse pitched this idea as part of an MBA program he was doing at USC, and SnapMD CEO and cofounder Dave Skibinski, who was judging the panel, saw this presentation. Morse, Skibinski, and Tierney incubated the idea and started the company in January 2013. A little over a year later, in June 2014, SnapMD launched its offering.
“We looked at those that were already in the market and most of them that you read in the news are actually providing healthcare services directly to patients," Tierney said. "They are carving out a new service. We said, this doesn’t make any sense. This is a tool, just like any other tool a provider has, even as simple as a telephone. And we should be putting this in the hands of healthcare providers that already have those trusted relationships. The infrastructure is there, the providers are already there. There are patients that trust their physicians and this should just be another tool within their toolbox. That was the concept of the company and so we said, ‘Ok, let’s build the best tool that we can and basically be that support system for providers that want to launch their own telehealth programs.’”
Their product, a whitelabeled offering called Virtual Care Management, allows physicians to provide virtual care to their patients using video, audio, and text message consultations. Patients can communicate with physicians using an iOS or Android app as well as a web app. Physicians can also use the tool to collaborate with other physicians.
“From the beginning we want it to be able to handle more than one type business model, one type of use case,” Tierney said. “Right now we have 23 different use cases operating on our platform. And it’s everything from hospital systems with their endocrinology patients, those delivering specialty care, and urgent care facilities that are using it more as a way to extend their hours of operation beyond the normal hours, being able to accept patients after hours remotely. It really runs the gamut of healthcare services. And it’s a system that’s flexible enough to handle the very different business models out there within healthcare."
Virtual Care Management supports all healthcare organizations, from large health systems and ACOs to medium-sized medical groups, specialty medicine, and two- or three-person practices.
Other features that Virtual Care Management offers include a claims system, an EMR, mobile-enabled medical device integration, an ecommerce function, and an appointment scheduling feature. Currently the only medical devices that SnapMD’s offering can integrate with are those that generate audio or video feeds, for example stethoscope and otoscopes. But later this year the company plans to start integrating with more data-driven devices.