Healthfinch Snags $1.5M, Swoops In To Automate Mundane Hospital Tasks

Investors in Wisconsin and around the country are increasingly paying attention to the budding healthtech cluster in the state capital of Madison, placing bets on the startups they view as most promising. Count Healthfinch among the latest winners.

The company, which makes software to automate routine hospital tasks, has just raised $1.5 million from investors, co-founder and CEO Jonathan Baran tells Xconomy.

Chicago-based Jumpstart Ventures led the round, with participation by Chicago Ventures, Chicago-based OCA Ventures, and Wisconsin healthtech investor Mark Bakken, Baran says. All told, Healthfinch has raised $2.8 million over three small rounds since it was founded in 2011. (An SEC filing shows the company has raised $2.4 million, but some additional funds were tacked on after that document was filed, he says.) Healthfinch’s other backers include Avia, a healthcare investing and consulting company based in Chicago.

Madison is trying to build a national hub for healthtech companies, buoyed in part by the presence of Epic Systems, the electronic health records software giant, and the talent flowing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Baran, a UW-Madison biomedical engineering graduate, and Chicago-area doctor Lyle Berkowitz started Healthfinch to try and make hospitals and clinics run more smoothly. “Our focus as a company is to take the routine, repeatable work” that physicians and staff are tasked with “and use the data from the electronic medical record to automate and delegate those tasks more efficiently,” Baran says.

The company’s first product is Swoop, formerly called RefillWizard, which helps boost the efficiency of handling prescription refill requests. It saves doctors 30 minutes a day by intercepting and processing the requests, then routing them to the right staff member to fulfill the order. The idea is to free up more time for doctors to spend with patients.

More than 1,000 doctors are using Swoop, and the software has processed more than 1 million prescription refill requests since launching in 2012, Baran says.

“We’re going to be rapidly expanding our product line over the coming year to get into a number of new areas that fit into the same mindset of taking the routine, repeatable work off of the physicians’ and staff’s plate,” Baran says. He declined to specify which tasks Healthfinch might try to tackle.

Healthfinch will use the new money from investors to double its staff of 15 over the next six months, primarily through hiring sales people and engineers, Baran says.

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