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Deal Radar 2008: ClickCare

Posted on Thursday, Dec 11th 2008

Continuing our coverage on Healthcare IT, today’s Deal Radar looks at ClickCare, a web-based service that allows medical practitioners to discuss cases with their colleagues with the use of pictures, text, sound and video. They help practitioners to collaborate and communicate via the web to recommend the best care for their patients.

The physician requesting the information logs onto ClickCare, enters the patient’s information and demographics and asks the required questions. Users can attach photos and videos with their requests and can address a particular consultant, who is notified via email. When the consultant logs on, they answer the query with recommendations. All cases are stored in the archives for future reference and training, making them available at any time. 

ClickCare is used for problem solving with the intention of enabling complex decision making irrespective of place or time. It essentially combines the ease of email, the collaboration of a wiki, the security of HIPAA and the richness of pictures and graphics. 

The company was founded in 1995 by Cheryl Kerr, a pediatrician, and Larry Kerr, a specialist in reconstructive surgery, when they observed a worsening medical environment in which doctors were becoming unconnected and unaware. Around this time, the use of email was increasing in popularity and digital cameras were become available in the market. The founders, with over 35 years of experience in healthcare, realized that they had to develop a system which was inexpensive, web-based and user-friendly in order for it to be successful. In 2003, with the development of the platform Servoy, ClickCare blossomed with a commitment to ensuring excellent care for all patients, regardless of location or socioeconomic status. 

ClickCare has been bootstrapped since inception. Cheryl and Larry Kerr obtained small and medium size grants from such companies as Verizon and Time Warner Cable. Other support came from individuals and organizations such as the Neirmeyer Foundation and the Smile Train, as well as the founders’ personal funds which enabled the starting and ongoing development. ClickCare has also received government funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, with matching funds from United Health Services and a planning grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

ClickCare’s focus is on home care. Approximately 7.6 million individuals currently receive home care from 83,000 providers. In 2007, annual expenditure for home health care was projected to be $57.6 billion, and this is expected to grow. Wound care, the market segment Larry Kerr is most knowledgeable about and has decided to focus on, is a $3 billion business and growing because of the rise of obesity, diabetes, and vascular diseases.

An article by Texas Tech University discusses how in the late 1980s Health Sciences Center officials convinced US Senator Lloyd Bentsen to include $2 million in the rural health policy budget, and this kick-started the whole telemedicine process. The next major advance took place in the mid 1990s when telemedicine was used to provide medical care to inmates in some Texas state prisons, thereby reducing the costs associated with transporting a prisoner to the hospital. 

ClickCare works on a subscription basis. The business model rests on for-profit or nonprofit healthcare organizations that net a substantial and measurable ROI on the subscription fee they pay. The success of a healthcare organization is based on the dual metrics of successful outcomes, and per-patient cost scales that vary depending on the complexity of the case. ClickCare allows measurable improvement of patient outcomes (a champion/challenger model can be used within the organization to measure this) and a steep reduction of costs, especially in complex cases. Providers can apply the per-month subscription fee to per-patient cost scales to compare to more expensive specialist or hospital involvement.

The company has used cold calling, presentations, email and social media to increase awareness and get more customers. The top market segments are now home health care, skilled nursing homes and integrated large hospital systems.

ClickCare has facilitated the successful management of over 1,200 complex acute and long-term illnesses. An average client organization has 35 collaborating providers, with an average client base of 3,000. The subscription fee is about $20,000 per year with a present re-subscription rate of 100%. ClickCare is not yet profitable due to high development costs, but with low ongoing costs, a growing client base and revenue streams, they expect profitability in 2009.

The real competition the company faces is the old guard. If ClickCare loses a sale, it is generally not lost to a superior or cheaper product, but to providers or organizations that are not willing or able to evolve the way they approach their work. Another limitation the company faces to this kind of complex, integrated care is the isolation of providers, and ClickCare is continually increasing their reach and expansion to counter this.

The company’s growth strategy is organic. New markets are approached sequentially with an eye toward internationalization. The software service is multi-lingual with expertise in Spanish and Latin cultures. ClickCare has plans to expand to third-world countries and is already available in Kenya and the Dominican Republic.

Built with the idea to help improve the medical system, the founders are keen to develop the organization. Partnerships, investors, and sale of the business would only be considered to further the ideals of the company, with a priority placed upon quality and longevity over a quick exit.

Related Readings:
* Vision India 2020 – Doctor on Wire
* Pioneering Video Conferencing: Polycom CEO Bob Hagerty
* Forbes Column: Healing Health Care

This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2008

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we are presently employing clickCare in skill nursing home facilities to evaluate the chronic wound care patient with good success and are presently evaluating it with home health providers.

michael moore Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 11:29 AM PT