In a perfect world, every patient would be sent home from a hospital visit with a nurse in tow to make sure they’re following instructions and to monitor possible symptoms and answer any concerns that come up.
Unfortunately, the healthcare industry just can’t accommodate that.
However, Boston-based Wellframe thinks it can help, and today it’s announcing $1.5 million in seed funding for its product and service that combine mobile technology (apps) and artificial intelligence to connect healthcare providers and patients once they’ve returned home. The investors include Athenahealth chief executive Jonathan Bush, Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s Tim Draper, British Medical Association president Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, former Accenture global managing director Russ Nash, Fidelity Biosciences venture partner Carl Byers, and Leering Capital founder and managing partner James Nahirny.
Wellframe was also part of health-tech accelerator Rock Health’s fourth graduating class, although the company mostly participated remotely (Rock Health is based in San Francisco).
Wellframe’s chief executive Jacob Sattelmair describes it as a “GPS navigation system for patients.”
The company’s mobile app feeds a daily to-do list to the patient with items such as medication reminders, questionnaires to monitor for symptoms, and an exercise tracker (which uses the smartphone’s accelerometer). The artificial intelligence and machine learning engine Wellframe built then adapts the app’s content based on the answers and data input as well as the care regimens prescribed by the patient’s healthcare provider.
The healthcare providers can easily monitor the patient and adjust further treatments and interactions (scheduling extra doctor visits, adjusting medications, intervening in emergencies, and so on).
“Right now the standard is to get a phone call every two weeks,” Sattelmair said. “We help patients feel cared for.”
Wellframe has been conducting clinical trials with cardiovascular, pulmonary, and more recently mental health patients. However, Sattelmair said that the typical scenario for which Wellframe is most suited is one where something significant (a new medication, being admitted to a hospital, etc.) has happened and the patient requires more attention and care.
The founding team, comprised of a public health scientist, a primary care physician, and two computer scientists, originally came together without a particular business plan but were united by a larger vision of improving patients’ health management and their relationships to their healthcare providers.
“It’s a good time to be an entrepreneur in healthcare,” Sattelmair said.
And this is easily shown through the recent explosion in health-related technology companies. Along with Rock Health, other health-tech accelerators have been propping up and helping companies attack health issues and inefficiencies.
Even Y-Combinator’s most recent batch had a few such companies, including CareMessage, which connects higher-risk patients with their healthcare providers through mobile and communication technology.
Wellframe plans to use the new funds to grow its team, especially on the engineering and product side, as it has “an exciting and aggressive roadmap.”
Wellframe was founded in 2011 by Jacob Sattelmair, Trishan Panch, M.D., Vinnie Ramesh, and Archit Bhise.