While the U.S. and the world decide how to navigate the novel coronavirus outbreak—with school closures, remote work and takeout-only restaurant options—companies have to make difficult decisions and adapt.
But two Triangle-based tech startups in the healthcare space, Feedtrail and Pattern Health, are going beyond remote work adaptations and offering new initiatives to support the healthcare industry as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
Raleigh-based Feedtrail typically provides patient-engagement tools, sending text messages to patients to enable them to provide real-time feedback on their experience. Now Feedtrail has built an emergency coronavirus messaging tool that the startup is offering free of charge, said Feedtrail CEO and Co-Founder Paul Jaglowski. This tool allows health systems to contact patients with updates on the virus and redirect them to patient portals, hotline pages or informational websites.
“Instead of waiting for patients to call or come in person or search the internet for where to find information,” Jaglowski said, “we are ensuring every patient has real-time updates and awareness of what’s going on in their communities.”
About a third of Feedtrail’s clients are already using the service, either for coronavirus updates, virtual sign-up sheets or collecting information on expected patient volume. Jaglowski said Feedtrail will support healthcare providers who aren’t clients as well with the ability to have its service live in as little as 12 hours.
Durham-based Pattern Health, a digital health platform and marketplace, launched its COVID-19 Provider Kit Tuesday.
The Provider Kit can be up and running within 24 to 48 hours, enabling providers to work with patients remotely and reducing office visits. The customizable mobile app program can include patient onboarding, assessments and symptom tracking, guidance for medications, temperature tracking, fluid intake and educational information about the coronavirus from sources like the CDC, among other resources.
Pattern Health has always been mission-based, said the startup’s Chief Growth Officer Tim Horan. Serving the needs of medical providers and patients during the coronavirus pandemic is no exception, and in fact, Pattern Health’s services may be needed more than ever.
“For us, that’s where we’ll put together a COVID-19 kit to help people get up and running quickly,” Horan said. “But it’s as much if not more about the conversations we’re having with our health system partners to say hey, how can we help you serve as many people as possible and solve that problem as quickly as possible. And, commercials be damned, but we’ll figure that out. We all want to make money. We all want to do great things, but it’s all about how do we help serve and solve this problem.”
What Coronavirus Means For Tech Startups
Looking ahead at the impact of the coronavirus, Jaglowski said tech companies including Feedtrail will have to adapt the ways they work.
“This kind of just hit us last week,” Jaglowski said. “I think most CEOs understand that this will slow down some of their growth and they’re going to have to grasp the realities of having a fully remote workforce, something that startups or tech companies have the luxury to do more so than a lot of others. So we aren’t feeling as direct of a hit as some of these restaurants, bars, et cetera. But it still does require us to adjust the way in which we work, the way in which we communicate and coordinate within our teams.”
Horan echoed this sentiment. He said his sense is that every entrepreneur and tech startup is shifting to a day-to-day approach. Pattern Health, like many startups, is focused on their employees and business continuity—while working remotely and safely—as well as on their customers while managing the uncertainty over how long the coronavirus pandemic will take.
“Our business is clearly going to be impacted like others and we’re trying to figure out what that impact is going to have and taking it day by day,” Horan said. “But I will say that if there’s any area of industry that might have a bright light tied to it right now, it’s digital health. Anyone treating patients is doing everything that they can now to figure out, how can I better provide support and care to these patients remotely?”