Conducting Business In a Critical Time: Q&A (Part 1 of 3)

We recently brought the team at BIP Capital together virtually with leaders from a number of our portfolio companies to share their perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, including ways that companies have practiced resiliency and adaptability during these challenging times.

We’re sharing the resulting insights as a three-part blog post that asks key questions and provides answers from our round-table participants:

 

How has COVID-19 served as a catalyst for innovation? In healthcare, for example?

Answer from Mark Buffington, CEO and Co-founder, BIP Capital

One thing the pandemic has done is to force us to think about how care has traditionally been delivered, such as through hospitals and physician offices, and what services can be delivered remotely instead to support social distancing, minimize exposure for high-risk patients, and limit the potential for overcrowding facilities.

Our healthcare system has not evolved along with the introduction of the Internet and high-speed computing. It’s been a slow march to adopt new technologies and practices, especially those that center on cost efficiency and improved access to care. The coronavirus has brought telemedicine and remote-patient monitoring into the mainstream out of necessity, for instance. Both make for a good case that certain forms of care can be delivered virtually, at lower cost, and without sacrificing quality.

 

What are some of the actions taken by BIP Capital portfolio companies to better support people or industries during COVID-19?

Answer from Anju Mathew, CEO and Co-founder, OncoLens

One of the challenges cancer centers were faced with from COVID-19 was the immediate implementation of social-distancing guidelines. This created a particular problem for tumor board meetings in which members of care teams discuss patient cases and have traditionally been held in person. Not to mention, complex patient cases call for multidisciplinary discussions with specialists typically not located in the same facility. OncoLens wanted to help ensure that cancer care did not stop due to pandemic meeting restrictions.

OncoLens expedited the release of an integrated Virtual Tumor Board module and offered it at no cost for a limited period. As a result, care team members were able to use it to review patient data and formulate treatment plans while practicing social distancing. The virtual module supports multidisciplinary care while also enabling better data aggregation of patient information and care coordination of cancer treatment plans. Our platform has reduced the prep time for multidisciplinary collaboration of cases from an average of 10 hours to less than one hour while providing critical information that enables the best decision to be made for the patient.

 

Answer from Ian Juliano, CEO, Trella Health

COVID-19 presented many challenges for the healthcare industry, including the rising demand for home health services for COVID patients who require care at home after hospital discharge. To assist with potential staffing and equipment needs, Trella created a heatmap which visualizes counties across the US with large populations of Medicare patients considered to be high risk if infected. The heatmap focuses on counties with high chronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure and COPD, to give providers insight on markets where they might be needed most.

 

By creating this resource, Trella hoped to alleviate some of the burden hospitals, home health, and hospice agencies are facing so they can focus on caring for patients.

 

Answer from Todd Santa Maria, President, VoApps

VoApps decided to offer its technology that delivers voicemails at scale to any organization that needed to contact people with urgent coronavirus-related messages at no cost. We offered up to one million messages free for any school, government agency, nonprofit, healthcare facility, or food bank that needed to get important statements out.

Although a million voicemails through our technology has a value of over $100,000, we did this because we felt it was the right thing to do. We had the extra capacity, our solution is easy to use, and is highly effective whether the goal is to get the word out to a large group or to reduce inbound call volume by proactively sharing information.

In this way, VoApps was able to help dozens of organizations across the spectrum. The offer was well received by our clients and, because of what we did, awareness for VoApps has spread to a much wider audience.

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