Digital health is a hot market right now, with funding levels having tripled over the past year. Y Combinator graduate drchrono is one of many scrappy young startups aiming to change the stodgy old healthcare system. Indeed, drchrono strikes at one of the core problems of traditional healthcare: paperwork. Drchrono is an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) solution for doctors, optimized for the iPad and also available on iPhone and the Web.
Drchrono has a wide range of features; including scheduling an appointment, inputting medical details, eprescribing, billing, and Medical Speech to Text technology. Perhaps the best feature is that the patient can get a copy of their medical records, via the app.
Drchronos was founded in January 2009 by by Daniel Kivatinos and Michael Nusimow. In January of this year, according to a New York Times report, more than 50,000 doctors and 400,000 patients were registered with the service.
This excellent promotional video by Apple showcases how Downtown Urgent Care in St. Louis, MO uses drchrono.
Lots of Competition
EMRs (sometimes called EHRs, Electronic Health Records) are a huge market opportunity and drchrono has no shortage of competitors. They include Practice Fusion, HealthFusion, CareCloud, Athenahealth, GloStream and ElationEMR.
The U.S. government is helping the EMR cause by providing incentives to go paperless, via the HITECH Act. If they use a certified EMR service like drchrono, physicians can qualify for $44,000 or more in economic stimulus incentives.
Which is the leading EMR service? It's difficult to say for sure, but Practice Fusion appears to have the most registered customers. It claims more than 150,000 registered medical providers and 40 million patients - which makes it three times larger than drchrono in terms of physicians served. Practice Fusion was one of four digital health companies to receive a huge funding round in the first half of 2012, with a $34 million Series C round a month ago.
However, this market is still very much up for grabs. The vast majority of America's hospitals and healthcare institutions still run a paper-based medical records system. A study released in March 2009 by the New England Journal of Medicine, stated that only 1.5% of 2,952 hospitals surveyed had a comprehensive EHR system. That figure is probably higher today, but it's still early days for drchrono, Practice Fusion and other budding digital health EMR platforms.