Bright.md raises $16.7M to automate patient intake interviews

The company said that its SmartExam product has seen more use in the first quarter of 2020 than all of 2019.
By Dave Muoio
11:30 am
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Bright.md, a Portland, Oregon startup offering an automated patient intake and virtual care connection platform, has closed $16.7 million in Series C funding. The oversubscribed round was headed by B Capital, Seven Peaks Ventures and Concord Health Partners, and also included support from new backers Philips Health Technology Ventures and UnityPoint Health Ventures.

WHAT THEY DO

Bright.md's primary offering is SmartExam, which it describes as the "virtual front door" for patients seeking care. Patients enter the symptom and background information that would normally be collected during an initial face-to-face encounter. Clinicians are served with a provisional diagnosis and treatment plan for review, which is then automatically entered into the EHR.

Bright.md says this automated, asynchronous approach can reduce the amount of time a clinician would devote to most primary or urgent care visits to about 90 seconds on average. The company also noted that it has handled more patient visits in the first three months of 2020 than it did for the entire 2019 calendar year – more than 100,000 of which were related to COVID-19 concerns.

"SmartExam gives providers the necessary support they will need to help triage and treat, and offers patients a digital entry point to help them efficiently navigate the system in an environment where many fear doctor visits because of exposure to COVID-19," Dr. Ray Costantini, CEO and cofounder of Bright.md, said in a statement. "The coronavirus has only expedited a trend in care delivery that has been underway for nearly a decade.”

WHAT IT'S FOR

The startup said that it will be ramping up its technology offerings and increasing market expansion efforts with the new funds.

“The pandemic has provoked a monumental shift in the care delivery and patient-provider experience. There’s no turning back. Healthcare will begin at the virtual front door, making healthcare delivery more efficient and allowing patients to get better care and providers to deliver it virtually and expeditiously," Costantini said. "The capital and insight from our partners will enable us to achieve greater scale more rapidly in this next phase of our growth. We will be able to support more hospital systems in delivering patient navigation, triage, and treatment of low-acuity conditions, while seamlessly escalating those with more serious conditions to a higher level of care."

MARKET SNAPSHOT

More symptom checkers, chatbots and other automated technologies are being employed to route patients toward appropriate care and relieve burden on providers. Babylon Health, for instance, has fueled its ongoing U.S. launch by supplying its automated triage and care connection platform to providers and other partners. Others like K Health's recently funded app will offer patients with information about how similar cases are often treated, and then offers an optional telehealth visit to address their concerns. 

ON THE RECORD

“We strive to identify and support best-in-class healthcare companies with innovative solutions that address affordability, quality and access to care with meaningful strategic benefits for health systems," James Olsen, founder and managing partner of Concord Health Partners, said in a statement. "Bright.md aligns with our strategy with a proven platform that enables health systems to leverage their existing physicians to meaningfully increase capacity and streamline care delivery through AI powered automation. With Bright.md, health care providers can significantly improve access and efficiency, enabling them to deliver better care, more quickly and in the lowest cost setting.”

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