PicnicHealth launched out of Y Combinator last summer with a service that promised to help chronically ill patients gather all their records from all their doctors and put them in one easy-to-access online profile. The startup has now raised $2 million in seed funding to build that service out and hire more team members.
The funding comes from a slew of VC firms and angel investors, including Social+Captial, Great Oaks, Slow Ventures, YC partner Paul Buchheit, Scott Marlette, Sam Lessin, Joe Greenstein, Rashmi Sinha, Jameson Hsu, Kenny Van Zant, Rishi Kacker, Ramji Srinivasan, Eric Evans and Stanford’s StartX Fund.
The seed investment and roster of individuals is a testament to the wide-open market in health IT. While there are similar health IT companies dealing with patient information such as TrueVault and Aptible, the focus has been on delivering secure information to medical personnel rather than to the patient.
But patients, especially the chronically ill, often need access to their own medical records, says PicnicHealth co-founder Noga Leviner. She learned about these struggles first-hand after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease a few years back.
“For those diagnosed with a serious illness, coping with emotional strain and physical effects is just the beginning,” said Noga. “Patients then face the job of coordinating care. This depends on collecting, organizing, and distributing a growing mountain of medical records.”
Dr. Aileen Kuscera at One Medical reaffirmed the archaic process. “A lot of this has to do with privacy and HIPAA compliance. We can’t have all your records out there on the web,” she told me.
One Medical is at least handling things online. It currently emails patients about lab work and test results. However, some organizations still keep records on a paper file or on CD. “I don’t even know where I’d put a CD on my computer. There’s no way to access that,” Kuscera told me.
PicnicHealth solves this by doing the heavy lifting for the patient. Patients give permission for a records request at each medical facility and then PicnicHealth pulls all the information it can, including old files, CDs and other data and adds that to the patient’s personal online database that they can access anywhere.
PicnicHealth plans to use the money to hire a bunch of engineers, as well as build out a servicing component to help pull data from CDs, hard copies of paperwork and other non-digital files that are hard to get data from. It also plans to customize for specific communities starting with cancer and cystic fibrosis.
Some of the money will also go toward marketing and to making the current platform more efficient. PicnicHealth is currently $39 per month, but also plans to release a series of free resources to improve access to medical records for all patients.