Deal To Watch: The App That Saves Families from Hospital Waiting Rooms

Summary

The Medifies team has been selected as a “Deal To Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10-20% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology please reach out to hello@kingscrowd.com.

Problem

We all hate waiting in lines. Whether it’s at the grocery store or the DMV, waiting in line can bring out the worst emotions in all of us. It’s even worse when it comes to waiting rooms in hospitals, where friends and families anxiously await important updates about the status of their loved ones undergoing complicated or life-altering surgeries and procedures.

Waiting rooms tend to feel sterile and cold at that, which may further induce anxiety in the people who are already restlessly sitting in their uncertainty as they are stuck idley staring at TV monitors for new information about their loved ones to populate the screen.

Few things can assuage the anxiety of the waiting room. Ultimately, friends and family want more communication from surgical room staff, who are the only credible voices that are able to address the uncertainty of a patient’s status with real-time updates. However, it’s logistically difficult for these medical professionals to be operating on patients while also tracking down their loved ones to give constant updates.

Solution

Medifies’ apps connect people in waiting rooms to healthcare staff by providing a platform for efficient communication. The basic model of the app, Medifies Surgery, includes standardized update communications, an “I’m here!” button to notify hospital staff of a family’s return to the waiting room, and an option to directly integrate the communication app with an existing electronic medical record system (EMR).

Medifies’s apps even have the potential to be tailored to the specific type of operating room that they are waiting in. For example, Medifies offers platforms with features specifically designed for obstetrician, radiology, chemotherapy, and dialysis offices, in addition to a general platform for surgeries.  

The additional features included in these versions of the app include pre-procedure reminders to prevent day-of cancellations, relief for patients who are fatigued post-treatment, lifestyle reminders and links to health records, and special notification for baby name, weight and gender.

Company & Founder Background  

Medifies was founded by Nate Pagel, a serial entrepreneur who successfully exited four startups before creating Medifies. Pagel now serves as CEO of the company, bringing his extensive experience in managing teams and developing software products to the team.

Pagel’s co-founder, Dr. John Talieh, now serves the company as an advisor, bringing a deep expertise in the healthcare system and an intimate knowledge of waiting room problems to the team. Talieh previously served as a cardiothoracic surgeon for 16 years, before serving as Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Sutter Memorial Medical Center.

Another key member of the Medifies core team is Paul Petronelli, who currently serves as Chief Technology Officer. Petronelli has a thorough background in software development and healthcare technology, in addition to having deep experience in entrepreneurship as the co-founder or founder of three other companies before joining Medifies. His career includes serving as CTO and software developer for other digital startups.

Market Opportunity  

The digital health industry is broad, as there is a lot of space for digital technology to improve processes at almost every juncture within a healthcare operation, and there is room for improvement in all healthcare systems across the globe. As a result, the digital health industry is on track to hit extremely high growth, with a 2017-2024 CAGR of 26%.

Further tailwinds to the industry in the U.S. come from government adoption of new technologies, as regulatory bodies like the FDA begin to increase approval of new health devices and apps that cover a wide range of different functions.

Some key value propositions driving growth within the industry include Diagnosis of Disease, Monitoring of Disease, Consumer Health Information, Research & Development Catalyst, On-Demand Healthcare Services and Health Benefits Administration.

An app geared towards waiting room operations would fall under On-Demand Healthcare Services, which is defined by a value proposition focused on the delivery of immediate, or near real-time, healthcare services.

By targeting the lag in information flows between hospital staff and family members in waiting rooms, Medifies is positioned to contribute to real-time information and communication flows in healthcare services.  

By improving communications and experience of family members in the hospital setting can help to improve patient satisfaction scores and enable hospitals to gain back more dollars from Medicare and Medicaid who factor in patient satisfaction to reimbursable dollars.

Competitor Analysis  

The best apps in this space need to address a combination of key customer pain-points. For example, platforms should cover all forms of communication (text and call) so that they are user-friendly across a wide range of users. They should also be interactive and update in real-time, so doctors can communicate clear messages about their status directly to the waiting room. These apps should also allow the opportunity to engage patients while they wait and after their visits.

For increased control of wait times, apps should also include predictive summoning to ensure that they are not spending time waiting for families to return to waiting rooms to communicate key information. Lastly, accurate wait forecasting is strongly tied to patient satisfaction and retention.  

Since the waiting room is only one part of a broader industry, Medifies faces little competitors targeting waiting room operations. The company identifies EASE, Medicend and Mutare Health as its main competitors in the market, as they have similar functionalities and positionings in the market. However, none of these companies seem to have emerged as leaders.

As a result, Medifies is well positioned in a young market market, as it already hits many of the key attributes of a strong competitor, with its text functions, focus on real-time updating and clear communication of status and whereabouts from both hospital staff and patients’ families.

Terms  

Since 2013, the amount of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the digital health space have only increased. In 2018, there M&A activity reached a new peak of 56 deals closed. 13 of these deals publicly disclosed their price-tags, totaling $7.6B. There are several high-profile deals included in this cohort of deals, including Amazon’s acquisition of Pillpack for $1B.

At a current valuation cap of $6M and $85K in sales with over 4K users at several early adopter hospitals, the team is showing the ability to become a meaningful player in this newly emerging healthcare communications market. Better yet they have sales with 3 new hospitals, which could get the company to cashflow positive in the near term.

With a huge uptick in private investment in the digital health space, Medifies is well positioned to be a part of a wave of valuable innovations that improve healthcare across all aspects of the system and draw attention from large companies looking to get in front the next generation of modern healthcare.

Rating

Medifies is a Deal To Watch.

With an experienced founding team, real user traction, a hot M&A market, and a massive market opportunity filled with antiquated tools or a lack thereof all bode well for Medifies.

The challenge will be not just being seen as one element of a much broader communications issue in the hospitals. This may lead to Medifies becoming a roll up into a larger organization targeting hospitals with more robust tools. While this could be good for an exit, it may limit the upside of the organization.

The question is how large is the piece of the pie for a waiting room healthcare communications tool? We surmise that it could be slightly limited and may hinder wide scale adoption.

Regardless, this team is solving a real need with an intelligent founding team and we do think at the current valuation, it can prove to be an intriguing investment.

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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