The company allows doctors to prescribe digital health tools for patients directly from their EHR
While healthcare is notorious for being a industry that resists change, or for being one that at least changes slowly. There's good reason for this, of course, not least of which is the regulatory environment that protects patients. Things are finally changing now, though, and the space is going increasingly digital, especially when it comes to the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) that are meant to make it easier to follow a patient from doctor to doctor and to monitor their care.
The problem with these solutions, says Mike McSherry, CEO of digital health prescribing platform Xealth, is that they "are only effective if a doctor can easily recommend and order them for a patient, direct from their workflow where they usually order meds and labs, and then have them delivered via the patient portal." Otherwise they can be frustrating for the doctor and become time wasters, rather than time savers.
That's the problem Xealth is looking to solve; it integrates digital prescribing directly into the EHR. That means that a doctor has the options to prescribte things like patient education content, third party apps and programs, or non-clinical services, like e-comm product recommendations, and deliver them directly to the patient.
"Without Xealth, the doctor cannot send digital solutions from the EHR to the patient portal as easily, this often would be done outside the EHR system, either in a separate IT portal, or even on pieces of paper. Moreover, Xealth is the first to enable physicians and care teams to monitor patient engagement and utilization of the solutions described above," said McSherry.
On Wednesday, the company announced that it raised $11 million in a Series A round. New investors, including McKesson Ventures, Novartis, Philips and ResMed, joined existing investors Threshold Ventures (formerly DFJ Venture), Providence Ventures, UPMC and Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network. Xealth had previously raised $8.5 million in its first round of funding in June 2017, and this round brings its total funding to $19.5 million.
"We are excited to be working with industry leaders such as McKesson Ventures, Novartis, ResMed, and Philips, who each bring a wealth of knowledge and opportunity with them. They have seen the value Xealth delivers in connecting their devices into the EHR, and both wanted to invest as they expand their use of Xealth for additional business efforts," said McSherry.
"As the concept of a digital supply chain gains traction, we plan to engage with McKesson and Novartis as many treatment plans will combine both traditional methods and products with digital therapeutics."
Xealth's customers are health system providers, especially those "who would like to empower their doctors to be able to effectively add digital tools to their mix of options to be able to change patient behavior."
For example, a provider might have a dozen different digital vendors that are managed individually, including one for remote patient monitoring, two or three for patient education materials, a few on-line weight management tools and a cognitive behavioral therapy program, among others. What Xealth does is centralize the integration of these into a single platform, with one integration into the health system.
There are six health systems actively using Xealth right now, including The Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, where the company integrated several solutions including Proteus.
"Proteus Digital Medicines include FDA-approved sensors, providing feedback on medication ingestion and medical adherence for patients with diabetes, hypertension, or Hepatitis C. This feedback can then be monitored by care teams on the Xealth platform," McSherry explained.
The company measures ROI for its health systems in terms of cost reduction and outcome improvements. Cost reduction can come from reducing clinician workload, for example, while cost savings can come from reduced implementation time.
"For patient education, we have seen up to 82 percent engagement with education solutions, which is monitored and measurable, linking to patient education measures for a variety of standards," McSherry explained.
When it comes to competition, he notes that there are a number of other companies that also integrate into EHR and enable the same kind of third party vendor integration. What McSherry says sets Xealth apart, though, "is the ability for physicians and care teams to then monitor patient utilization."
"For example, if a doctor prescribes a behavioral health tool to a patient to help with depression, but then isn’t able to see that the patient’s depression symptoms are worsening between visits, there is no way to intervene. By monitoring via the Xealth platform, the physician-patient relationship improves beyond the confinements of the doctor’s office, and overall care improves as a result," he told me.
The company says that the new investment will go toward developing its technology, and for building out its team, specifically hiring more engineers and product professionals, as well as developing additional capabilities and integrating more devices.
"We are seeing advancements from device monitoring and connected devices to companion apps that come with a traditional therapeutic, and we are excited to explore these along with any other digital solutions that our health systems deem important," said McSherry.
Xealth's ultimate goal, he said, is to use analytics and data to "help health systems make data driven solutions in digital care to better provide for their patients."
"We plan to further develop technology to meet the evolving digital health market, which is exploding. We are seeing advancements from device monitoring and connected devices to companion apps that come with a traditional therapeutic, all which need to be easy for doctors to order, easy for patients to receive, and analytics to show what is working. We continue to expand in terms of technology capabilities, health systems using our platform, and breadth of integrated vendors, simplifying the incorporation of digital health tools in care plans."