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How much do patients remember about the information they receive on their way out the door of a doctor’s office or a hospital? Not much, according to Portland, Oregon-based WelVU, which announced today it has received initial seed financing of $1.25 million to expand its business of personalized patient education.

In fact, CEO and founder Mark Friess told VentureBeat, patients remember less than 20 percent of what they’re told by nurses or doctors.

The company launched its integrated patient engagement platform earlier this month. It combines such multimedia content and data as medical illustrations, videos, voiceover from the medical provider, vital-signs, scheduling, X-rays, blood results, and notes that doctors and nurses add. Each presentation is specific to a patient, a direct benefit of the electronic health records that the U.S. health system has begun to adopt.

The interactive presentation is delivered to the patient by a doctor or nurse at the office or hospital as an app on an iPad or iPhone or through a browser on a computer display. It’s then recorded as a Screencast movie and emailed to the patient or made available through a patient portal.

Currently, the takeaway is a recorded video of the presentation, but Friess noted the company is working on providing some additional, post-provider interactivity.

He said his company, founded in January of last year, will use the seed money to “accelerate marketing and sales, add additional features, and invest in client support for upcoming deployments.” The focus is on marketing the platform for use in the ambulatory, acute care, and post-acute settings.

How can his company deliver content for every conceivable ailment? Friess said that, while some prerecorded content is part of the package, “the goal is creating a platform for crowdsourced materials.” Physicians or hospitals can provide their own materials or curate content from material prepared by others — but much of the content comes from the patient’s own records.

Competitors for patient education, Friess noted, include Elsevier’s ExitCare and Milner-Fenwick, but he said WelVU stands out for “being the first to combine” all the pieces.

“We’re integrating with patient data out of medical records, personalized for a person,” he said, “and offered in a HIPAA-compliant format.”


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