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(Twistle Photo)

Health tech startup Twistle landed $16 million to fund a platform that makes it easier for hospitals to communicate with patients. The Series A funding round was led by Health Enterprise Partners (HEP) and MemorialCare Innovation Fund (MCIF), the venture arm of the MemorialCare Health System.

Health systems use Twistle’s software and app to automate patient communication and education, as well as to gather data. Common applications included sending follow-up information and checking in with patients. The idea is to free up providers from these routine tasks so that they can focus on higher priority work, lowering costs along the way.

The company, headquartered in New Mexico with an office in Seattle, said it would use the new money to fund sales efforts and to invest in human-assisted automation.

“If we want to deliver great care and bend the cost curve in this country, we cannot continue following the status quo,” Twistle’s CEO Kulmeet Singh said in a statement. “We have to use automation to increase the effectiveness of our care teams and find better ways to motivate patients to take ownership of their own health.”

Twistle CEO Kulmeet Singh (Twistle Photo)

Twistle will have to fend off other startups who see opportunities to cut costs in healthcare with this kind of robotic process automation, such as Klara and Voalte. It also faces potential competition from tech giants including Microsoft, which has been creeping into healthcare with patient-facing chatbots and communications platforms for healthcare teams.

The startup’s system is also designed to let healthcare systems customize how and where they reach patients, including through the organizations’ own patient portals.

“In our conversations with [healthcare organizations], we hear the priority their executives are assigning to hyper-individualized care plans and asynchronous patient communications,” said Ezra Mehlman, managing partner at HEP. “They see these as the keys to true patient engagement. We have also observed how many of these leaders select Twistle as their solution after rigorous head-to-head contests.”

Earlier this year, Twistle landed a deal with Providence St. Joseph Health to bring its platform to patients undergoing surgery at the healthcare system.

Launched in 2011, the startup has 32 employees with offices in Seattle, Albuquerque, N.M., and Nashville, Tenn. Twistle aims to more than double its staff in the next 18 months.

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