KeyCarea Chicago- and Madison-based startup, aims to solve the health care access problem by proving that the country doesn’t have a shortage of doctors, but rather “a shortage of effective utilization,” according to founder and CEO Lyle Berkowitz.
The nation’s only virtual primary care platform built with Epic, KeyCare, was founded in 2021. The startup acts as a virtual care marketplace, connecting health systems with virtual care groups running on its Epic-based platform. Berkowitz said he started the company to help health systems provide patients with more consistent experiences using two-way data sharing.
“The problem we’ve identified is that health systems want and need to offer more virtual care services, but their internal providers are overwhelmed and their partner options are limited to third-party providers that use loosely integrated technologies,” Berkowitz said. . “The result is that they either can’t meet patients’ demand for care, or they send patients to a disjointed experience where data isn’t shared.”
On KeyCare’s platform, patients can make an appointment with a virtual care clinician, which the company calls its “virtualists,” through their health system’s MyChart portal. These virtualists access comprehensive patient health records and document visits in Epic. After an appointment is completed, patient information is sent back to their healthcare system.
The most common initial use case for KeyCare is to provide access to a virtual emergency room that is available 24/7 in all 50 states, according to Berkowitz.
“A lot of health systems are asking us to immediately provide the national service that they can’t do themselves because of a licensing issue, and then cover evening shifts because it’s too difficult or expensive for them to do it themselves,” he said .
Berkowitz added that many health systems also recognize that it often makes sense to focus their staff on complex care that must be done in person and partner with other companies for more routine care than can be virtualized.
KeyCare customers are Epic-based health systems looking to expand the scope and reach of their virtual care, one of which is based in Michigan Spectrum Health. The startup makes its money from a combination of health system fees and visitation revenue.
While other virtual first aid platforms exist, such as Teladoc, Babylon Health and Omada HelloKeyCare is the only one built on Epic’s EHR—and Epic has largest share EHR implementations in the market. This gives the company two advantages, according to Berkowitz.
“First, it means we have a certified end-to-end EHR that can be optimized for a wide range of virtual care scenarios, including primary care, specialty care and remote patient monitoring,” he said. “Second, Epic has incredible interoperability functionality that allows us to share patient data and appointment scheduling between our Epic instance and those of our health system partners.”
These benefits also benefit patients, Berkowitz added. For example, patients can stay in the Epic system for the duration of their visit without having to create a new username or enter their past medical history.
To keep up with the demand for virtual care services from large health systems, KeyCare will use its Series A funding to expand its team, start working in more health systems and partner with more virtual care groups . It also will eventually expand its services to full primary care support and various specialty areas — currently offering only urgent care and behavioral health care.
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