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Digital health, at-home testing, and pharma companies can embed the Nurse-1-1 widget in their apps
There's been a sea change over the last couple of years when it comes to the doctor/patient relationship: what used to be a once a year, 15 minute consultation, now comes with the expectation of being able to be in touch at all times, whenever the patient has a problem.
While digital healthcare and online pharma are both great initial options, though, they alone don't solve the problem, said Michael Sheeley, co-founder and CEO of Nurse-1-1. The Boston-based company, which works with digital health, at-home testing, and pharma companies so that they can connect patients to a live nurse through a widget on their own apps, announced a $2.3 million seed funding round on Tuesday.
"Add COVID-19 to the mix, and it is near impossible to get your medical questions answered, unless you are sitting right next to a doctor or a nurse," he said.
This is something he has experienced first-hand with his own daughter, Lydia, who was born with a congenital heart defect and required heart surgery at just 3 months old.
"The healthcare system at the time was complicated and lacked empathy, and I needed more than just clinical results to get me through," he said.
Sheeley was lucky that he had Kimberly Liner, a pediatric nurse practitioner, who was able to help him; many others would not be so lucky. That's why he and Liner co-founded Nurse-1-1, in order to provide that same type of access to medical care exactly when patients need it.
"Patients need the empathy and expertise of a nurse to help answer their questions about side effects, affordability, and more. Nurse-1-1 is marrying the benefits of at-home care with the influence of professional opinions."
Nurse-1-1 provides a HIPAA-compliant widget for digital conversations between nurses and patients that can be embedded into other digital platforms. This allows its nationwide network of over 2,000 NPs, RNs, PAs, and MDs to connect with patients, answer their questions and help educate them.
The platform also helps drive adherence, which is a major drain on the healthcare system: non-adherence to medications alone costs the healthcare system $300 billion annually. Nurse-1-1 has been shown to increase adherence on filled prescriptions and on at-home test that are returned to the lab.
Nurse-1-1 facilitated over 10,000 patient consultations through its partnerships in 2021, an was able to connect a patient with a nurse in fewer than 8 seconds on average. In addition, the platform also helps keeps patients out of the emergency room: in a program where the company aimed to divert patients away from the ER when it wasn’t appropriate, 95% of those patients who initially thought they needed to go to the ER, chose other more appropriate forms of care, such as a telemedicine visit.
"Other industries have been leveraging conversational marketing for years to improve the customer experience, and now everyone looks for the chat dialog on a website when they need to speak with a person in real-time. Nurse-1-1 is bringing this same experience to healthcare, but ours is HIPAA-compliant, end-to-end encrypted, staffed with live nurse practitioners, and can be embedded into any digital platform," said Sheeley.
The new funding round was led by Argon Ventures with participation from York IE and Hyperplane, bringing its total funding to $3.5 million. The company plans to use the capital to expand its team, which currently consists of four people, to 10 by the end of the year. It will also be used to accelerate the company's go-to-market efforts, and to scale its current partnerships.
In the future, Sheeley envisions Nurse-1-1 as a core element to all patient touch points within digital healthcare and to pair patients across the globe with a trusted nurse, just like he had with Liner.
"This type of access to nurses shouldn’t just be for people privileged enough to live in neighborhoods with world-class providers. Everyone should have this type of access," he told me.
(Image source: nurse-1-1.com)
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