An Austin-based technology startup that provides healthcare planning to people with serious medical conditions has raised $5.1 million to expand nationally.
Austin-based Iris Plans received the funding from investors including New York-based Activate Venture Partners and Austin-based LiveOak Venture Partners.
The Iris Plans platform uses videoconferencing to connect specially trained facilitators with patients and their families. The platform customizes the process based on the patient’s medical conditions and circumstances.
The facilitators provide education, facilitate decision making and assist in completing and distributing advance healthcare directives to guide future care from their doctors and medical facilities.
Steve Wardle, co-founder and CEO of Iris Plans, said the process lets patients stay in control of their healthcare, protect their family from unnecessary stress and reduce unwanted and non-beneficial care that wastes billions of dollars annually.
The company delivers the service through partnerships with large national healthcare providers and health insurance companies. It cost is covered by health insurers.
“This funding will allow thousands of people to take control of their care, avert family crises and avoid unnecessary care which is not in line with their wishes,” Wardle said. “It’s very rare that these discussions are happening today, and we’re really about using technology to make them happen. It involves educating them on their illness and talking about disease specific scenarios. We help them get ahead of the learning curve and think through the options. Then we put a plan down on paper.”
Wardle previously was vice president of strategic partners and business strategy at the Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit that works to end poverty and hunger.
Wardle co-founded Iris Plans with Dr. Stephen Bekanich and Andrew Chen. Bekanich is a palliative medicine physician who has started and directed several palliative care programs across the country including University of Miami's Medical Center. Chen has held product leadership roles at Austin software companies including CognitiveScale, Spredfast and Bazaarvoice.
Iris Plans will use the funding to build out its platform, add employees and expand national partnerships with healthcare providers and payers.
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