ImageMoverMD Snags $1.2M for App That Securely Shares Patient Photos
ImageMoverMD, a Middleton, WI-based startup developing software that securely transmits pictures and videos taken with smartphones to electronic health record systems, has raised nearly $1.2 from investors.
Twenty-four investors participated in the equity funding round, according to a document filed with federal securities regulators. ImageMoverMD has now raised more than $2.7 million from investors since launching in 2013, according to regulatory filings.
To understand why care providers and patients might use ImageMoverMD’s digital tools, consider the following scenario: During a routine physical examination, a patient mentions a rash she recently developed to her internal medicine physician. The internist needs to consult with a dermatologist colleague before deciding what she’ll tell the patient to do about the rash, and figures that sending the dermatologist a picture of the rash might be helpful.
ImageMoverMD co-founder Gary Wendt said that as smartphones have proliferated over the past decade, it has become increasingly common for clinicians today to use their own phones to photograph patients and send the images by e-mail or text message, rather than a secure channel.
“If they want to take a picture, they just take it on their own cell phone—they don’t care,” Wendt said in an interview last year.
The solution that Wendt, co-founder Richard Bruce—like Wendt, a radiologist at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, or UW Health—and others on the ImageMoverMD team came up with involved merging photos and videos doctors take of their patients into a patient’s electronic health record, via a secure server integrated with a healthcare provider’s records software.
At UW Health, a physician who is seeing a patient and has her electronic chart open on the computer can click a “patient photo” button, which generates a unique QR code that appears onscreen, Wendt said. The physician then opens ImageMoverMD’s app on her phone and points the device at the QR code, he said. This establishes a link between the photo or video and the patient’s health record. However, the linking happens indirectly; pictures flow from the ImageMover app to the company’s servers over an encrypted connection, and then images are merged into patients’ records.
One reason for this setup is that it avoids having patients’ protected health information stored on phones, Wendt said. The unauthorized transmission of such data can result in steep fines or even jail time.
“The phone never actually looks at the medical record,” Wendt said. “It never knows who the patient is.” Instead, the QR code identifies a specific session on one of ImageMoverMD’s servers, which is associated with both the patient and the provider who took the photo.
Pictures taken using ImageMoverMD’s mobile app are erased from users’ phones after they’re successfully transmitted, Wendt said.
UW Health is one of three healthcare organizations that currently use ImageMoverMD’s software, CEO K. Thomas Pickard told Xconomy in April.
In addition to use cases involving two or more clinicians, patients can also use ImageMoverMD’s tools in combination with the online portals that many U.S. healthcare providers have installed in recent years.
The patient portal UW Health uses, MyChart, is developed by health records software giant Epic Systems, which is based just outside of Madison, in Verona, WI. MyChart allows patients to use computers and mobile devices to do things like view test results, request prescription refills, and send written messages to physicians.
UW Health worked with Epic and ImageMoverMD to make it possible for patients to send pictures to their doctors using MyChart. This could have the effect of replacing some in-person appointments with electronic visits, Pickard said. The functionality has been live at UW Health for more than a year, Wendt said.
Apps such as Clinicam and Captureproof also allow patients to securely send physicians photos and videos, which can then be merged into patients’ digital health records. However, Pickard has noted that unlike those apps and others that might be considered competitors of ImageMoverMD, his company’s app can rapidly send images to a hospital’s picture archiving and communication system, which is used to store X-rays, CT scans, and other types of images.
Now, with some additional funding at its disposal, ImageMoverMD will continue trying to demonstrate that its tools can save time and money for patients and healthcare providers alike.