If you change doctors or go to see a specialist, chances are that your medical records will be printed out and faxed or sent by snail mail to your new doctor.
In an age where everything from birthday parties to drivers licenses are recorded digitally, it makes little sense that doctors’ offices are still using such outdated ways of sharing information. At least, that’s the argument from BloomAPI, a Seattle-based technology startup developing software to take those medical records into the digital era.
The company, which is a graduate of the Y-Combinator accelerator, announced Thursday that it has raised $2.4 million in venture funding to further develop its software.
Investors in the round include Slow Ventures, Founders’ Co-Op, Liquid 2 Ventures, Parker Conrad and Section 32, the new fund by entrepreneur and investor Bill Maris.
Bloom CEO and founder Michael Wasser said in a press release that the new funds will go towards “hiring a Seattle-based team of engineering, operations, and sales staff to replace the arcane process of faxing and printing medical records.”
The startup currently employs five at its headquarters in Seattle.
The idea behind its technology is fairly straightforward: hospitals and clinics tend to use isolated legacy systems, some of which are decades-old. While these systems are very stable and secure — important for dealing with hospital operations and patient data — they can’t network with systems in other hospitals.
So doctors offices spend a huge amount of time and money on faxing or physically mailing records to outside parties, including other doctors offices, insurance companies and patients themselves. BloomAPI estimates that the healthcare industry spends $2.5 billion on this process every year.
Bloom wants to replace that system with an electronic one. The company’s software, installed in a hospital or clinic’s computer system, can then access a patient’s electronic medical record and securely send it to parties outside the care center.
Wasser told GeekWire that many of BloomAPI’s competitors simply help doctors fax health records better or outsource the faxing process. “We run software in the doctors office that automates and digitizes the whole process and can transmit records from one office to another in higher quality formats,” he said.
“This said, in building connections with doctors offices, we’re also paving the way for an application platform where other healthcare vendors can easily connect to doctors’ Electronic Medical Record systems in a single, unified way (hence the API part of our name),” Wasser said.