NEWS: Startup Working to Improve Patient Flow Seeks $750,000
Long waiting times for doctors visits are such a cliché that they’re often joked about. It’s no picnic for the doctors and their staff either. Inefficient patient flow leads to lost time, which leads to a loss of revenue.
A startup with the goal of improving patient flow in doctors offices and health clinics has commercialized software that UCI originally developed for its own medical centers. Ops Guru is seeking $750,000 for a 20% equity stake based on a pre-money valuation of $3 million.
The funds will be used to complete the process of making a product out of a system that has been used at UCI Health for more than two years, as well as to begin sales and marketing activities, Ops Guru CEO Jeff Greenberg said.
Greenberg was first introduced to the UCI Medical Department – via its IT department – last year, and started the process of commercializing the tech. He’s no stranger to UCI, having gotten his Master’s in computer science there. More recently, he licensed tech from UCI and grew it into a global, multi-milliondollar business, Hiperwall, with HQ in Irvine. One of the local, tangible results of that business is the video wall at the Cove, the home of Applied Innovation.
In 2014, UCI Medical Center set to work on reducing inefficiencies in patient flow and developed an early prototype. It used interns walking around with iPads to monitor doctors and nurses. From 2015 to 2016, the medical center saw results of 32% better patient cycle time – the time it takes for patients to cycle through their appointments and 24,000 more patient visits per year.
As a result, it saw increased revenue of almost $4 million, an 11% increase over the previous year.
OpsGuru commercialized this prototype software that focuses on real-time patient monitoring. The tech is currently being used throughout UCI’s medical centers and is in a pilot program at two departments at UCSD.
The business model is SaaS (Subscription-as-a-Service), based on the number of exam rooms under management. These rooms can be in one building, distributed over a campus or scattered across multiple locations throughout a region.
How It Works
Patients can either use self-service kiosks to check themselves in or be checked in by a receptionist. Their name is then added to a list. Every room is equipped with an electronic badge reader. Once the patient is escorted into a room, the nurses swipe their badge, alerting the monitoring system. When the doctor arrives, they also swipe their badges.
Every step of the process is electronically monitored, enabling OpsGuru to continually track the status of each patient, including where they are and how long they’ve been waiting.
This information is simultaneously provided to the medical staff, to help them prioritize which patients to see in which order. The status of every patient is provided on a live map that can be viewed on a variety of places, including large wall-mounted displays, desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.
All this data is then used for analysis to help medical offices make strategic decisions on issues like scheduling, staffing levels and expanding their facilities.
There are a few systems on the market that track the movement of people and equipment throughout various places, Greenberg said. Most of these are based on sensor systems that require an “expensive, disruptive installation process and often require re-calibration,” he said.
The Ops Guru system avoids these costs by leveraging the badge reader systems that are already in use at many health care systems, he added.
Greenberg has been the managing director of Tech Coast Works for a decade. That’s a virtual incubator that works with entrepreneurs and inventors from UCI and the greater OC tech community to commercialize their inventions. It specializes in the high-tech and consumer electronics industries.
As CEO of Hiperwall, he grew the company into a global, multi-million-dollar business with customers in about 60 countries. Hiperwall created a software-based video wall system that doesn’t require any hardware, allowing users to use systems with commonly-available PCs, monitors and network equipment.
He’s also a part time entrepreneurship professor at Saddleback College, where he helps aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the path from idea to sustainable business.