After spending years in the health care industry as a general practitioner, Dr. Monica Bolbjerg saw the opportunity for technological advancement and capitalized on it.
“I clearly saw a need to optimize workflows for a practice and how I could empower my patients,” she says. In 2015, Bolbjerg’s Bradenton-based company Qure4u was introduced to the medical practice industry through its MyCarePlan virtual care platform. The platform is designed to improve patient access, optimize workflows through data automation and improve communication with patients before, during and after they’ve left the health care facility. It does that through using Electronic Health Records-embedded patient intake, digital engagement and virtual care solutions through its trademarked Digital Health Key.
Qure4u's payment model for clients that use the platform is typically offered on a monthly schedule. The company will offer other models, too, depending on customer needs.
Through the platform, patients are able to check-in to their appointment at home, eliminating wait time for staff and doctors, which company officials say could save a provider between $800 and $1,500 a month. It's also designed to eliminate last-minute cancellations, which is calculated to save $2,000-$4,000 a month for providers. And instead of requiring follow-up visits for everyone, patients are able to record their vitals following a procedure, so the health care team knows who actually needs to visit, which can add up to another $800-$1,500 a month for providers.
Bolbjerg isn't the only one to see the need for a digital service like this.
The company got its start with a $2.5 million investment round seven years ago. And it reported 140% year-over-year growth last year from expanding its customer base, which includes the Tampa Family Health Center, North Florida Surgeons and Florida Community Health Center. "We’ve been growing well year over year,” says Bolbjerg, who declines to disclose specific revenue figures.
Then, in July, Qure4u secured a $25 million funding round from growth equity firm Volition Capital, which is based in Boston. It's hefty investment round — especially for a company in the Sarasota-Bradenton region, which lags behind bigger tech-centric markets like Tampa and St. Pete with outside capital. After finding out, the Qure4u team, a company spokesperson says, was "elated."
"The investment supports our mission to bring meaningful digital connections to providers and patients all over the world. We truly believe in each other and what we're building, and investments like that allow us to keep reinventing what's possible in health care. So, while we didn't really celebrate, we did pause to acknowledge the reality of the moment, and how it affects our drive to keep doing what we love," a statement provided by the company says.
Bolbjerg says the firm sought an investor with capital and advisory board experience. On the flip side, Volition Capital sought a company to invest in that provides a specific service within an industry. “We were looking for someone who was a good fit for us,” Bolbjerg says. “An investor who could help us grow.”
The companies were introduced through a mutual connection. Now, Volition has a seat on the startup's board. An official at Qure4u stated they welcome in other advisors from Volition often to ensure continued growth and maturity across the organization.
The capital has been deployed quickly. Qure4u has invested in its marketing strategy and sales team — doubling in the number of employees, to 70.
“We are very ambitious,” Bolbjerg says. Now, the company is able to integrate medical records, offering an additional service to their customers. “The medical record was key for us to grow.”
As a nationwide organization, spanning even to Alaska and Hawaii, Bolbjerg says the company is focused on large hospitals and health organizations. Qure4u is also expanding into community practices.
The latest round of funding will be it — at least for a little while. “If we continue this growth, maybe in a year or two,” she says. “Right now we’ve got enough to do what we want to do.”
Originally from Denmark, Bolbjerg moved to the area with her husband Torsten Bolbjerg and their four children before founding Qure4u.
Bolbjerg says in a normal hospital visit, patients might only get six minutes with the doctor to learn about their treatment plan, what is expected of them to continue treatment at home and ask questions. Qure4u helps fill those gaps. “We make sure patients know what they need and when they need it,” Bolbjerg says.
For larger health care organizations, Qure4u’s main customer, the startup sends someone in to train the organization's staff on the new technology.
In general, Bolbjerg says Qure4u’s model, and approach to customer education, is similar to what the banking industry is going through. The technology has made the customers become more self-sufficient, rather than relying on bank tellers. Organizations using Qure4u should expect changes for the patients she says.
And while the latest funding is geared to push forward on its current services, Qure4u is keeping one eye on the future. Late last year, for example, the company teamed up with AT&T and Samsung to integrate remote patient monitoring. The RPM offering provides a way for doctors to follow patients with high blood pressure. “Using technology,” Bolbjerg says, “helps the industry be more efficient.”