Startups, Patient Engagement

Inbox Health raises $4.4M seed round to modernize healthcare billing

While Inbox Health was founded in 2014, CEO Blake Walker said refocusing the company’s core business on billing companies last year has driven its current growth trajectory, with revenue increasing by five times over the past 12 months.

With all the innovation and investment dedicated to delivering cutting edge therapeutics in medicine, the process of actually paying for healthcare is still a largely antiquated and drawn out process reliant on waiting for paper bills to show up in the mail.

New Haven, Connecticut-based Inbox Health is betting that it can bring that system into the modern era by using data to better understand patients, personalize outreach and engagement and link silo’d systems.

While Inbox Health was founded in 2014, CEO Blake Walker said refocusing the company’s core business on third-party billing companies last year has driven its current growth trajectory, with revenue increasing by five times over the past 12 months.

Through its billing company partners, the 20-person startup’s platform reaches more than 1,000 physician practices, 4 million patients, with more than $700 million of healthcare spending under management.

That momentum has been signaled by the closure of its $4.41 million seed financing round which was raised from angel investors, as well as Connecticut Innovations, Metropolis Ventures, I2BF Global Ventures and Startup Health.

New capital will be directed at growing the company’s sales and marketing operations and building integrations with more software systems which will allow for greater reach of the startup’s products.

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A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

The company focuses its service on the roughly 8,000 third-party billing companies in the U.S. that process more than $400 billion annually in transactions.

Inbox Health utilizes text messaging, email and voice technology to send billing details and provide faster and more effective patient support. Those efforts have resulted in a 62 percent reduction in paper usage and freed up resources for more high-value purposes.

One major pain point targeted Inbox Health is alleviating the disconnect between the clinical notation collected through practice EHRs and billing companies’ internal software, which can lead to double billing, wasted resources and frustrated patients.

A major lesson learned by the Inbox team has been understanding how to leverage relationships and customer demand to work with some of these existing vendors who may be at first wary of an upstart professing to modernize the billing process.

Inbox isn’t alone in tackling the problem and competitors include NueMD, CareCloud and Cedar.

The company is selling its service amid a backdrop of growing provider consolidation and a decline of independent medical practices driven in part by the increased administrative burden required to run a healthcare practice.

A similar dynamic is also affecting billing companies, which are facing increased pressure from rising costs and other structural issues like offshoring. Inbox positions its system as a way to drive greater revenue and lower operational costs to make these businesses more sustainable in the long-term.

“If we look to where we want healthcare to go in this country I don’t think we want an overwhelmingly monolithic system,” Walker said. “We want to have small businesses and independent practices to be able to thrive in the healthcare system of the future and we can enable that.”

An important part of the Inbox’s business is understanding that even through a majority of the patients served by the company may not be tech-savvy, there are still major ways to streamline and enhance the experience for that population.

“A lot of our investment in our next phase of growth is focused on using the growing data set we have to greater drive efficiency, understanding who the patient is, create new solutions to afford bills and increasing our ability to provide patients access to information in new digitally instant ways,” Walker said.

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