Health IT Startup, Born of Grief, Tackles Home Care After Surgeries
Houston—Kim Bond Evans’s mother checked into the hospital for routine back surgery.
But the procedure that was supposed to relieve her pain led to complications and, in the end, her death. As she processed her mother’s loss, Evans, who has worked for firms such as Microsoft and BMC Software, took a technologist’s approach to understand what happened.
Her company, Seremedi, was borne from her grief.
“I decided I’m going to treat this as a learning experience,” she says. “I interviewed the doctors, did research, and decided this is a problem that can be solved.”
Technology—software, mobile apps, and telemedicine—could help prevent what happened to her mother by creating a crucial link between clinical staff—doctors and nurses—and caregivers, the family and friends who help a patient once discharged from the hospital, and before the standard follow-up appointment. “There are a lot of gaps in the process,” Evans says. “And we now have technologies to close that gap.”
Seremedi’s software package, called CareScriptions, is sold to hospitals such as the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Depending on the subscription package—Seremedi uses a SAAS model—hospitals give patients a link they can download to a personal device or a fully loaded tablet with the CareScriptions software.
Hospitals choose from a library of software customized for certain procedures—is it managing home care after a surgical oncology treatment, orthopedic surgery, an organ transplant? Patients are trained in how to use the application, which reminds them to log vital statistics, and take medications, for example. Clinicians can monitor that information and, if they see something amiss, contact the patient via a web phone call. “Caregivers don’t have the expertise or trained eye to know when things are problematic until it’s really too late,” Evans says.
Seremedi’s mission dovetails along with Affordable Care Act requirements based Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements based on re-admittance rates, something that Evans says makes CareScriptions attractive to hospitals. In particular, a high proportion of re-admittance could suggest “a lack of appropriate coordination of post-discharge care,” according to a Health Affairs policy brief.
“We are influencing shorter lengths of stays because the patient and the doctors and caregivers are connected,” Evans says.
Launched last fall, CareScriptions is being used by about 200 patients, Evans says. The company charges a $50,000 implementation fee and a per patient fee of $1,000 with volume discounts. (Seremedi can also custom design software for the management of other procedures for an extra fee.)
The startup raised $1.7 million in seed funding from angel investors on the West coast and is planning to deploy its software to teaching hospitals at New York University and Ohio State University. “For patients like my mom or caregivers like myself, it’s like we were shot down behind enemy lines,” Evans says. “We didn’t want to be here and we’re trying to navigate a survival plan. CareScriptions allows the clinical team and the caregiving team to all operate from one playbook.”