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Helpful raises $7.5M seed for caregiving app

Jul 27, 2023
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Helpful, an app helping caregivers navigate benefits information, medical records and post-hospital discharge, raised $7.5 million in seed funding, CEO Wes Donohoe tells Axios exclusively.

Driving the news: Coming one week after caregiving technology company Family First announced its Series A, Helpful's deal confirms strong investor interest in the space.

Details: Redesign Health led the raise, the proceeds of which will go toward further product development.

  • The funding is expected to last until at least 2025, Donohoe says.

How it works: Launching this week, Helpful is currently available, free of charge, for caregivers of loved ones with original Medicare (parts A and B).

  • The app collects and presents benefit information and medical record intel in one place — designed to give caregivers a clear picture of what their loved ones need and how much it'll cost.
  • Helpful plans to launch with Medicare Advantage populations and those with special needs plans (Medicare SNP) in the near future, Donohoe says.

What they're saying: "If you are a caregiver in this world, just [having] that one location, and organizing the information from these multiple different sources in one place, saves a bunch of work," says Donohoe.

  • Resources like the CMS website may tell caregivers costs and whether prior authorization is required, but fail to highlight additional salient information, he notes.
  • "You don't get, 'Here are the steps to redeem durable medical equipment benefits,' as an as an example," he says of CMS' site.
  • Redesign venture chair and practicing physician Thomas Fisher says he's seen first-hand how elusive the caregiving process can be.
  • "I am regularly in contact with patients who are accompanied by a loved one who is their primary caregiver, and is trying to get a hold of this very slippery care process that we as providers do a very poor job of incorporating patients into," Fisher says.

The big picture: The Department of Health and Human Services last month posted its final rule implementing information blocking penalties, originating from the 21st Century Cures Act.

  • Individuals and entities determined to be guilty of information blocking — defined as anything that disrupts exchange, or use of electronic health information — could get fined as much as $1 million per violation.
  • Meanwhile, Helpful is building its "own content management system to manage this information and populate this information where the information isn't available today," says Donohoe.

The intrigue: Asked about the eventual buyer universe for Helpful and its ilk, Fisher says, "I can see many different sorts of risk bearing entities being attracted to them as a service. And often those are the sorts of organizations that might want to incorporate this tool more avidly."

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