Team angelMD • July 24, 2017

For this week’s #StartupSpotlight, we take a look at Medifies, a company building a platform that helps healthcare providers give updates to families while maintaining HIPAA compliance. We spoke with CEO Nate Pagel, to learn about Medifies. To find out more about Medifies, check out their angelMD profile.

Please provide a short overview of your company and the market need you are fulfilling.

Medifies delivers the most innovative SaaS platform for healthcare provider-to-family and caregiver notifications. Every day in America, 200,000 people anxiously fret in OR waiting rooms for loved ones in surgery without knowing what is going on or when to expect updates. We solve this problem.

 

Historically, healthcare has focused on doctor-to-patient communication; Medifies revolutionizes healthcare with staff-to-caregiver/family notifications. The company allows non-clinical staff to deliver templated notifications to the phones of a patient’s family and caregivers. In addition, it saves clinicians time, providers money, and connects providers with the entire family for the first time—for future patient acquisition.

 

Medifies addresses problems that all healthcare providers face with a scalable platform which also improves the experiences of families in need of reassurance at a difficult time.

Why did you start your company?

I was approached by my high school friend, Dr. John Talieh, who is a CT surgeon and Chief of Surgery at Sutter Memorial. Dr. Talieh wanted to solve problems he sees around surgery every day:

  • Families are stressed and feel tethered to the waiting room, but they also are often not present during the important time after surgery when the surgeon needs to speak with them.
  • Incorrect or embellished updates can result in malpractice claims.

Medifies solves these problems and many more for providers, like increasing HCAHPS and Press Ganey scores, in addition to increasing the satisfaction of family members with a superior experience and templated updates, like “The surgeon will come speak with you in the waiting room soon.”

What were some of the biggest hurdles you had to overcome in getting your company off the ground?

The biggest hurdle was long provider sale cycles. We are addressing that by taking a strategic approach to selling within IDNs as well as approaching surgicenters with a flatter hierarchy and quicker ability to make decisions.

Is there a specific culture you strive to create at your organization?

Our motto is “We are family.” This reflects not only the population we serve but also the culture we cultivate. We take care of each other as a team, and all of us feel strongly that we have a great product which we want to succeed. We work hard in a field with tough turns, so it’s also important to have fun.

How are you trying to differentiate yourself from your competitors?

Currently, there is no uniform method of communicating with patients’ families. There are a few hospitals that have costly and hard-to-understand waiting room monitors. In contrast, Medifies requires no installation, no IT investment, no downtime, and no data loss. By not revealing PHI or PII the service is HIPAA compliant while delivering relevant information.

Where do you see the biggest potential for growth in your industry?

Patient (and caregiver) experience. It is currently the #1-funded sector and also the top area of M&A activity in all of healthcare. Our biggest potential for growth is taking advantage of the wide-open provider-to-family notification space.

 

Our initial product is designed for families of patients undergoing surgery, but there are numerous other procedures (like radiology) and arenas of care (like elder care, dementia care, and hospice) that will tremendously benefit from caregiver communication. The Medifies platform is expanding strategically to include caregiver notifications for dialysis, chemotherapy, obstetrics, radiology, elder care, and hospice. These days, you can track everything from your bank accounts to your grocery deliveries on your phone, but you can’t track your loved ones in medical care. We are excited to change that.

Over the past 10 years what has been the biggest technological innovation that has shaped your industry, and has this innovation impacted your business directly?

If we look at technology, there is no question that the answer is the iPhone. Everyone now has a supercomputer with media, location and communication capabilities in their pocket, and the healthcare industry as a whole has yet to take advantage of it. Our thesis is that industry needs to leverage this fact to make lives better. Our CEO’s last four startups have done just that; they’ve been “mobile-first” (designed first for the handheld device) because that is what people predominantly use these days for updates, notifications, etc.  One of these, Flyby, was acquired by Apple in Dec 2015.

What is your vision and of the strategy for your company for the future?

Our initial product deals with the OR waiting room, but moving forward, we are branching out into many other areas including the entire perioperative cycle (pre-clinic through readmission), dialysis, chemotherapy, radiology, OB, elder care and hospice. Our goal is to maintain our focus on the largest population in health—the family—while expanding our brand and suite of products so that patients choose their healthcare provider based on who uses Medifies.  Once you’ve had Medifies on your phone, how could you go without it again?

What should I have asked you that I didn’t?

We like to talk about our experienced team of ten—we have a cumulative 110 years in the healthcare industry! Our CTO is the chair of the HL7 Committee for Mobile Health, and I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of great teams and startups with four exits totaling more than $1.4B.

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Image Credit: Medifies