Mobile health care startup Wellframe raises $1.5 million seed round


Boston mobile health care tech startup Wellframe announced today that it has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Wellframe is a mobile platform that allows outpatients with serious medical issues to stay in close contact with their clinicians, such as nurses or coaches, in the difficult first months after returning home from the hospital.

Wellframe is a bit like the GPS navigation system in your car, said CEO Jacob Sattelmair: Instead of the static laundry-list of care instructions that patients have historically received upon discharge, Wellframe provides “iterative, turn-by-turn guidance.” That guidance comes in the form of “a daily to-do list, which is dynamic and adaptive and meant to personalize what that patient needs to do each day in order to manage their health.”

Depending on the patient’s specific needs, the to-do list might include reminders about taking medication, getting exercise, eating or avoiding certain foods, or calling the hospital. On the other end, Wellframe provides clinicians with a dashboard showing them whether or not patients are on schedule.

According to Sattelmair, a big element of Wellframe’s value is psychological. The time after a patient arrives home from the hospital tends to be “a period of a lot of vulnerability and isolation and typically mild depression.” Wellframe aims to lighten that turmoil by “extending care beyond the walls of the hospital to help patients feel cared for on a day to day basis,” without overloading the already busy schedules of nurses and other health professionals.

Of course, calling recently-discharged outpatients at home is standard practice among medical caregivers. But “there are only so many phone calls or so many visits that one nurse or one coach can make,” and the times in between might be quite scary for a patient who has grown accustomed to having a caregiver on call at all times.

Sattelmair explained that “by giving care managers an asynchronous communication channel, you engage with patients in between those phone calls or in between those visits, and you’re able to [provide] many more frequent touch points with the patients, so that it’s not an episodic relationship as much as a continuous one, and they feel like they have health professionals with them in their pocket every day.”

Wellframe was founded a little over two years ago. The startup spent the first year -and-a-half running extensive clinical trials at a number of top academic hospitals, and has begun  rolling out its product commercially over the past six months.

Carl Byers, venture partner at Fidelity Biosciences and one of Wellframe’s seed-round investors, said he believes that “Wellframe is really positioned to be much, much more than an app, but more of a core technology behind powering the experience in a way that improves outcomes,” and that it is “really about codifying clinical knowledge, and being able to deploy it in real time when people need to use it.”

Other investors include athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush, Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, former Accenture Global managing director Russ Nash, and Leerink Capital Partners founder James Nahirny, among others.

Nick Cox is a freelance writer who lives in Somerville.
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