Kyna and Conan Fong were at dinner trying to convince their father, who ran a medical practice, to try something different than just keeping paper records.
There’s a good reason for that — they’re slow, they’re hard to transfer and share (often requiring paper delivery or faxes), and there’s a lot of information that can be lost along the way. But despite that being a common issue with many medical practices, there hasn’t been a breakout electronic health records company. In the end, Kyna and Conan Fong convinced their father to experiment.
That’s what Elation Health is trying to break form to do. While other companies like Practice Fusion haven’t been able to unseat more traditional means of keeping patient data or other health records companies, Elation Health is hoping its approach will be able to win over those kinds of doctors and physicians. The company said it raised $15 million in new financing today, led by DFJ.
After a little bit of tooling at their father’s practice, the company arrived on an online-based electronic health records system. The idea would be to remove forms and faxes by being able to share this kind of data online in a private way between patients and interacting physicians.
“At the heart of it is an EHR; it has the entire patient’s record, a longitudinal story of the patient’s health. One, we capture the complete history and story of the patient, and two we enable providers to act upon that information. If they found something in their patient’s record and based on interactions, they may decide on a treatment or oder a lab, give the patient instructions to do exercises at home. We enable specialists to correspond back to the referring physician to tell them what is happening with the patient.”
For example, when sending off referrals, instead of a form with a bit of information jotted down, physicians can exchange that information through Elation Health records. That gives referrals a more comprehensive download of what’s going on in the patient’s life, Fong said, including data like recent lab results or previous treatments.
All this is meant to improve the overall care of patients. With the insurance payments landscape shifting toward incentivizing better care and keeping patients out of the hospital, having this kind of information can provide physicians with ways to create better treatment plans or help patients understand their conditions.
“It’s much more about, hey, what is happening to the patient when they go home,” Fong said. “Are they actually following the care plans we’re outlined. Do they go to the podiatrist when I ask. When I ask my patients to make sure to get their mammograms, do they do that. It’s a much more outward facing patient care focused approach as opposed to transactional documentation tools.”
So, why hasn’t there been a successful startup in this space yet that’s been able to take on larger companies? These systems are very hard to not only spur adoption, but implement. Perhaps Elation Health’s focus on individual practices and physician relationships with patients will help it be successful in areas where Practice Fusion may have stumbled, but we’ll have to see.
“We start with an explicit and intent focused on those patient physicians relationship,” Fong said. “The only way to ultimately improve outcomes and control costs — which is what we’re trying to do in healthcare — is a product that puts the clinical needs first. It’s a very different one than what other companies have taken. Most companies in this space take a very administrative and billing approach.”