News Column

Replacing the doctor's office clipboard

June 23, 2014

By Kevin Robinson-Avila, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

June 23--A New Mexico company's iPadbased system for patient check-ins and doctor follow-up could find its way into a lot more clinics and hospitals thanks to a $3 million round of funding from venture capitalists.

Sun Mountain Capital and an unnamed East Coast investment firm closed late last week on the first institutional investment in Seamless Medical Systems, a Santa Fe-based startup that designed software for patients to fill out medical information and forms on iPads while waiting to see doctors. The system, launched in early 2013, is being rolled out in clinics across the country, but the new funding could help it reach a lot more waiting rooms in the next few years, Seamless Medical Founder and CEO David Perez told the Journal.

The money will be used to ramp up sales and support for an aggressive marketing push nationwide. The firm previously received about $2 million in funding from individual investors, but this is the first commitment from venture capitalists.

"We're getting a lot of interest from private medical providers, retail clinics, pharmacies and health systems to use our product," Perez said. "This money will help us grow our team to meet all that growing demand."

The system replaces the time-honored clipboard full of forms people are asked to fill out.

Receptionists at clinics that use the system will provide iPads loaded with Seamless Medical's "SNAP Practice" software for patients to enter their personal information, including consent and insurance forms with digital signatures. The information is then automatically added to patients' electronic medical records.

After finishing the electronic check-in, educational information pops up on the screen about medical conditions or health and wellness issues in general that patients can browse while waiting to see doctors. Much of the information is personalized to educate about things the individual may have indicated during check-in, such as diabetes.

The system represents one of the first attempts to digitize front-office interface with patients, said Brian Birk of Sun Mountain Capital, which manages the New Mexico State Investment Council's$150 million fund for investments in local startup companies.

"There's been a pronounced movement in recent years to automate back-office systems, but this is the first time on the patient-facing end, and we've seen a tremendous number of inquiries that Seamless is getting," Birk said.

The system currently is used in 12 private practices in New Mexico and other states and is being rolled out in 30 walk-in "RediClinics" in Texas.

In addition, in April, the company signed a three-year contract with a national-level "retail clinic," a fairly new type of health provider that offers walk-in care for people in places such as Walmart, Target and Walgreens, Perez said. There are about 7,500 such retail clinics in the United States today, and they're growing at about 250 percent per year, but Seamless Medical's new customer remains confidential for now.

"It's a big, national, well-known retailer with 80 clinics now where they're rolling out the SNAP Practice system," Perez said. "The company expects to grow its chain of clinics to more than 500 in the next three years, and we'll grow with them."

Seamless Medical is a Falcon Award winner on this year's Flying 40 list of fast-growing technology companies in New Mexico that is featured in today's Business Outlook.

The company currently employs 27 people in Santa Fe and expects to hire another dozen employees by the end of the year, Perez said. It reported $60,000 in revenue for 2013, its first year on the market, and projects $1 million for 2014.

Elaine Montano, founder and CEO of Life Care Health Services in Santa Fe, said the SNAP system could catch on rapidly in clinics nationwide. Her clinic, which serves 4,500 patients annually, now uses it as an integral part of its electronic medical records.

"Patients love it, because it saves time for them without having to fill out 15 or 20 forms every time they come in," Montano said. "And it eliminates redundancy and excessive data entry, because the staff doesn't have to do things over and over."


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Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)

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