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Analyst Report: Upgrade for access VitalFlo Helps Patients and Doctors Breathe Easy
VitalFlo’s software makes lung function testing more accessible to patients. But it has competition and an unproven business model.
- Company: VitalFlo
- Security Type: SAFE
- Valuation: $7,000,000
- Min Investment: $250
- Platform: Wefunder
- Deadline: Apr 30, 2023
A Breath of Fresh Air
I suffer from severe allergies and asthma. When I moved out of state for college and was exposed to a different environment, my symptoms worsened. To pour salt on the wound, I had no established primary care physician or specialist. I remember waiting months to get an allergist appointment. I even went to an allergist that specializes in children just to be seen sooner. Being asked how old my child was each time I checked in (and explaining that I had no child in the first place) was worth it for more immediate relief.
Of course, whenever you begin care with a new specialist, they may request updated tests (allergy, pulmonary function, etc.). And my new doctor was no different. After waiting months to see the allergist, it took several more weeks to get my lung function and allergy tests ordered.
I am not alone in this struggle. One in 13 Americans suffer from asthma. And asthma is just one of the many reasons someone might have to undergo lung function testing. These tests typically involve a device called a peak flow meter (aka spirometer), which measures the airflow that comes out of the lungs. It is the most common way to track lung function for those with asthma, allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other conditions that affect breathing. Normally, the test has to be done in a doctor’s office, usually a specialist’s. And because of patient backlogs, waiting weeks or months to have a test done is not unusual.
VitalFlo was founded to make lung function testing as easy as taking your blood pressure. Founder and CEO Luke Marshall saw how much inconvenience and wasted time patients were going through. That’s why he and the VitalFlo team built out software to make lung function testing available at home or in primary care offices.
VitalFlo’s software pairs with third-party-manufactured peak flow meters. The app, available on mobile devices, connects to peak flow meters via bluetooth and coaches users through a pulmonary function test. Once patients blow into the peak flow meter, the software then takes the performance metrics and compares them to expected (healthy) values. It then stores and tracks patient data, monitoring lung function over time.
Doctors or researchers have access to a web app dashboard of all patients they are monitoring. The web app shows the patient test data, and it provides appropriate test ranges to help nonspecialists assess risk. This way, VitalFlo makes lung function tests more accessible. Instead of visiting a specialist strictly for testing, patients can perform the test at home with coaching from the software or in the presence of a primary care doctor who doesn’t have extensive pulmonary testing expertise.
VitalFlow charges clinics and institutions $500 per year for each device deployed, with mouthpieces costing $5. Most insurance companies cover the software in a clinical setting, and there are reimbursement codes for zero direct patient cost.
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