Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin participated in Babyscripts raising millions in fresh funding to introduce a product to doctors nationwide as demand for virtual access to health care continues to balloon.
The Washington, D.C., venture’s maternal health platform connects pregnant patients with their physicians.
Babyscripts said Monday it secured $12 million in the first close of a Series B round led by strategic health care investment vehicle MemorialCare Innovation Fund of Southern California. Existing investors Philips (NYSE: PHG), a Dutch health tech company, and the CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, part of the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, also participated in this phase of the raise.
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin was involved in the raise as part of Babyscripts’ Strategic Partner Program that was announced in December 2020. Also participating through the Strategic Partner Program were Phoenix-based Banner Health and Pennsylvania-based WellSpan Health.
Froedtert Health significantly accelerated its investments in digital health care startups launching a $15 million fund in 2018 to acquire and implement new technologies for Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and other health care systems.
The Strategic Partners Program is an investment bloc composed of health systems interested in forwarding Babyscripts’ digital solutions for pregnant populations. Partners include Froedtert & the Medical College, Banner Health, CU Healthcare Innovation Fund and WellSpan Health.
The majority of the investors are current customers of Babyscripts, qualifying them to offer support and demonstrating their confidence in the company’s value, the company said in December 2020.
“We know that meeting our patients where they are and connecting in a personal and meaningful way outside of the clinic walls can improve the health and well-being of expectant moms and their babies,” Michael Anderes of Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin said in a December press release.
The latest capital will fund the launch of Babyscripts Virtual Maternity Care, the company said. That digital offering will build on its existing remote patient monitoring app, which includes prenatal, pregnancy and postpartum care management tools.
The new platform will continue to use user and outcomes data to “automate and streamline the care delivery process, identifying patient risk and delivering risk-specific solutions directly to the patient based on their data, without the need for administrative input,” said co-founder and President Juan Pablo Segura in a statement.
The funding also enables Babyscripts to focus on the insurance market. To that end, it’s putting money toward developing new care models for health plans to drive better outcomes through its technology, the company said. Payers use the Babyscripts platform to identify members’ pregnancies, educate, improve care coordination and recognize early clinical and social risks through pregnancy.
MemorialCare’s investment comes as the pandemic both aggravated disparities in maternal health and highlighted the value of technology in improving that picture, Caleb Winder, its managing director, said in a statement.
“Babyscripts improves access to care for patients and reduces cost for the health system and insurance plan by connecting payer, provider, and patient together through its virtual platform, managing patient and member health and collecting and communicating actionable data around risk with the goal of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity.”
The latest investment positions Babyscripts to acquire more market share, according to Segura. Babyscripts now manages more than 200,000 pregnancies across 30 states, and reports that it allows health care providers to manage up to 90% of pregnancies virtually. He told us previously the company is shooting for all 50 states.
It follows Babyscripts’ creation of its Strategic Partner Program in late 2020 so its health system customers would have “more skin in the game in adopting digital health and transforming how they delivered care through virtual experiences,” Segura said in December. A $4 million raise at that time marked the first phase of the program, with “room available to other interested health systems that want to invest in the future of health care delivery,” he said.
That came after a significant growth period for the business, which in March and April 2020 alone — in response to Covid-19 — saw 600% growth in enrollment on its platform.
Babyscripts, one of the Washington Business Journal’s 25 Startups to Watch of 2017, opened 2021 with an intention to focus on health equity and improve maternal health outcomes, Segura said previously. That roadmap includes growing partnerships with Federally Qualified Health Centers, public health clinics and Medicaid organizations. It also means improving its tools to screen for social determinants of health and maternal mental health.
The latest investment comes on top of more than $14 million raised to date, the company confirmed Monday. That includes $6 million in January 2019 and a $500,000 investment from Inova Health System’s Personalized Health Accelerator in March 2019. But the Falls Church, Virginia-based nonprofit health system has since shut down that program, which “did set us back a bit,” Segura said in December.