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  • Healthcare staffing startup backed by Business Insider co-founder views telemedicine as next market opportunity

    Nomad Health, a nearly one year-old healthcare staffing startup, has developed a way to automate the process of collecting applications, including licensing and credentialing information. The New York City-based business sees an opportunity to match clinicians with healthcare facilities looking to fill short-term clinical vacancies and cut out brokers in favor of greater billing transparency and lower commissions. Alexi Nazem, Nomad Health co-founder and CEO, also views telemedicine as the next frontier for its service.

    Nazem said in a phone interview that the startup would use the more than $4 million from a Series A round that it closed this week to ramp up its marketing and sales teams, with plans to add seven more staffers over the next six to nine months for a total of 12. First Round Capital and RRE Ventures led the round and .406 Ventures also participated. The company has raised about $5.3 million to date. It received seed funding from angel investor Kevin Ryan, who co-founded Business Insider, and serves as Nomad Health’s chairman. Ryan also took part in the Series A. First Round Capital also invested in Nomad prior to the latest financing round, Nazem said.

    “Our core product is a marketplace that allows doctors to search for jobs and clinics to search for doctors,” Nazem said.

    An algorithm matches the needs of hospitals with the most qualified clinicians based on licensing, dates available, specialty, and location, among other things. Nazem emphasized that it’s the job of each institution to verify the information.

    “We are trying to return control back to the people responsible for hiring,” Nazem said. “We think adding brokers to the conversation is only adding to inefficiencies and expenses —they charge a 40 percent to 60 percent commission. We charge a 15 percent commission and we’re totally transparent.”

    The company began a beta test of its service just a few months ago and its hospital clients are based in the Northeast, such as St. Luke’s Hospital. When asked about the market opportunity for its service in telemedicine, Nazem said he sees a lot of potential.

    “We expect to get involved in telemedicine. We think it will be a really exciting area for us. Telemedicine is a force multiplier — doctors can see more patients in more places in more settings. None of our current clients are telemedicine providers, but they will be soon. It is right on our roadmap.”

    Although CredSimple complements what Nomad Health does, Nazem said the closest comparison to its company is a UK-based business called Network Locum.

    Prior to Nomad, Nazem said he was a practicing physician in internal medicine. He also worked for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and on the 100,000 lives campaign to reduce morbidity and mortality in healthcare.

    The company’s home for the next 12 months is Grand Central Tech. The two year-old incubator provides free shared workspace and networking opportunities for startups without requiring companies to give up equity. Out of 1,000 businesses, Nomad Health was one of 19 to secure a spot. The chairman for Grand Central Tech is Michael Milstein, a member of the billionaire real estate family.

  • Get ready for exponential growth in telemedicine in 2017

    As reimbursement evolves from fee-for-service to alternative payment models, incentives will shift from treating sickness to keeping the population healthy. New investments will be made in technologies that reach into the home and enhance care team communication. 2016 saw an acceleration of telemedicine/telehealth. 2017 will see exponential growth.

    Telemedicine is hard to define. It could be real-time video teleconferencing between clinicians (a consult), between a patient and clincian (a visit), or group to group (tumor board discussion). It could be the transmission of a static photograph, such as the poisonous mushroom/plant teleconsultation I do 900 times per year. It could be secure texting to coordinate patient care.

    Patients might provide care teams with objective data from devices in their homes. Patients might answer surveys about their mood, activity or pain.

    All of these are telemedicine.

    Many companies will offer cloud-based tools and technologies to support these new workflows. Some organizations will use bridging technology to link together every kind of endpoint (Skype, Facetime, commerical telemedicine apps) with every kind of endpoint.

    There are so many use cases and so many possibilities that one approach will not serve all needs, so most organizations will have a multi-faceted strategy.

    There are some unanswered questions:

    1. How do you bill for telemedicine? There is a new CPT code, but it’s not clear how it should be used.
    2. How do you address multiple conflicting state laws when consulting across borders?
    3. How is the record of a virtual encounter stored and who is the steward of the record?

    For my personal telemedicine practice, toxicology consultation, I use an iPhone and email to review cases and images. No protected healthcare information is exchanged.

    I am credentialed by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for telemedicine practice

    I am malpractice-insured for telemedicine practice.

    When consulting across state lines, I provide advice to licensed physicians in that state and never interact with patients directly (or prescribe medications).

    I do not bill for these services. They are a public good.

    Medical records are kept by the physician consulting me, and that physician is the steward of the record.

    As hospitals expand to serve patients at the national and international level, as payment models require more home care/wellness care and as consumers demand the same kind of convenience from healthcare that they get from other industries, telemedicine will expand and mature.

    Telemedicine at BIDMC (part of Media Services) reports to me and I’ve requested additional staffing and investment for 2017. Technology, business needs, and customer demand are aligning to make telemedicine an increasingly important service offering for clincians and hospitals.

    Photo: Bigstock

  • Inside North America’s first all-digital hospital

    The digital experience at Humber River Hospital in northwest Toronto begins the moment patients arrive. The sleek, square building feels like a small airport, with each registration area designated with a letter. Before arriving, patients look online to find out their check-in zone. Humber River is North America’s first all-digital hospital. Inside its corridors, there […]