Care Thread, a Providence, Rhode Island-based company that makes a secure messaging app for doctors, has announced $250,000 in seed funding from Slater Technology Fund. Care Thread CEO Dr. Scott Guelich told MobiHealthNews that the company has raised an additional $100,000 from undisclosed angel investors. Slater Technology Fund is a Rhode Island-based economic development fund with a focus on promoting local technology companies.
Care Thread was founded in 2011 by Guelich, who worked in Silicon Valley as a software developer for 10 years before changing careers and going to medical school, and partners Andrew Shearer and Nick Adams. Guelich said the confluence of his experiences in health and tech made it clear to him hospital communications had a lot of room for improvement, which mobile technology could provide.
"Very rarely do you see a hospital where everyone's on a common messaging solution," he said. "This is an industry that still spends over a billion dollars a year for pagers. And non-physicians don't typically carry pagers." He said that hardware-specific solutions like Vocera have had some success getting nurses to adopt them, but not doctors. "Getting folks to communicate across these silos is a challenge," he said.
As the threat of HIPAA audits looms and as most hospitals adopt a bring-your-own-device policy, a number of companies have developed secure messaging apps, which promise a mobile solution to these communication problems. Guelich says Care Thread's solution is special in that it's focused on coordinating the care of a single patient.
"There's nurses who rotate and their shifts are very different from the doctors who are caring for the patient as well," he said. "In a teaching facility, you might have a primary care physician, a fellow, and an attending, as well as any consultants, and additional staff including therapists, case managers, social workers. There's a large group of people who need to coordinate care. We make it very easy for everyone using our system to know who their patients are. Everyone has their list of patients. You tap on them and you can see all their providers, and you can message them from there."
Care Thread recently partnered with group purchasing organization Yankee Alliance to spread its product across their 96 New England hospitals. The company will use the funds to expand their sales team in order to reach out to more hospitals and care sites, and to hire additional product engineers to continue to refine the app.