Protenus – An Immune System for Medical Records

Over the last decade federal and state governments, insurance companies and other large medical institutions have been strongly promoting the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR).  In 2009, EMR’s were effectively mandated when the federal government included a formula of both incentives and penalties for Medicare & Medicaid reimbursements to doctors who failed to use EMRs by 2015.

What has transpired since then has been a sea change of digitization within healthcare.  Healthcare systems across the country now have spent billions of dollars rolling out massive enterprise-wide electronic medical record systems.  This adoption has led to a stampede of implementations for market leaders like Epic and Cerner.  Lost in the dust of this stampede has been that fact that healthcare records by their nature need to be easily accessible by care providers during the course of their work day.  Because healthcare providers often make in-the-moment decisions at the point of care, they need fluid access to these records 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. 

This presents a couple of key problems.  Because access is incredibly important for efficient and effective care delivery, it inherently places providers in a catch-22 situation as the unfettered access by healthcare employees to all patient records raises significant privacy concerns. These patient privacy concerns have slowed the adoption and effectiveness of EMR’s, and particularly the exchange of healthcare records between different providers, software systems, and healthcare information exchanges.

Although providers are aware of the potential patient privacy risks, managing those risks has been extremely difficult.  System networks that house patient data have had significant investment to ward off external network threats.  However, internal approved access provides ample opportunity for nefarious activities – especially when over 5.5M people are employed by hospitals in the US alone.  Medical records are known to have significant value on the black market for Medicare & Medicaid fraud.  No one knows for sure, but estimates place annual healthcare fraud between $80-$270 billion and patient records are needed in every case of fraudulent reimbursement.  This nefarious activity can lead to other problems such as in the recent case of actor Charlie Sheen’s medical records used as blackmail against him. 

So it was a simple question surmised from this very complex problem that two former medical students decided to address – how do we ensure trust in healthcare?  Their solution is Protenus.

Protenus is a software security solution for patient data that identifies when medical records are accessed inappropriately.  The solution gives health systems the ability to deeply understand how and why medical records are accessed in real-time, and whether or not there is a legitimate reason to access a given patient’s medical or financial information.  Protenus does this without adding any additional burden on the caregiver or the compliance staff.

We are extremely excited to welcome Robert Lord, Nick Culbertson, and the entire Protenus team to the Arthur Ventures family.  Nick and Robert both have tremendous backgrounds and they share a very important vision to ensure trust in healthcare.  Today, Protenus is securing patient records at some of the world’s leading healthcare institutions and they’ve assembled an amazingly talented team that is motivated by solving this incredibly important problem.  We are thrilled to join Protenus on this journey, please learn more about our recently announced partnership here.

Ambassador - The Leading Referral Automation Platform

Ask nearly any business what their most profitable source of customer acquisition is and chances are most will say referrals from their existing customer base.  When you ask how many referrals they get or how they administer their referral program, most will say that they don’t really know and they either don’t have a formal referral program in place or they’ve patched something together in house, but don’t trust the accuracy.  For all of the marketing innovation to-date in search, email and automation, referral marketing software is still in its earliest days.  Given the value referral programs have for businesses and the historic lack of adequate software available to optimize the process, we at Arthur Ventures think it is really hard to look out ten years from now and not see this as a highly valuable category.

Enter our investment in Ambassador.  Ambassador’s referral automation platform gives any company the tools to turbo-charge their referral program, turning their customers into powerful online brand Ambassadors.  The platform enables its customers to easily build campaigns, integrate with their favorite third party applications, promote campaigns, manage their brand ambassadors and automate any payouts due. 

Where many startups have tried to attack this market selling lightweight referral widgets to other startups, Ambassador has built a comprehensive and flexible platform that is powering large-scale referral marketing campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world.

Ambassador is led by founder Jeff Epstein and is based out of Detroit.  Jeff is exactly the type of entrepreneur we love to back.  He is completely obsessed with having the best product in market and had surrounded himself with a great team.  Jeff’s thoughtful approach to building the business has positioned the company with the right product in the right market with the right team at what we believe is the right time.

We also strongly believe there is no better place to build Ambassador than Detroit.  Its an impressive tech scene that is filled with a ton of smart, hard working people that feel like they have something to prove.

Welcome aboard Jeff & team!

Continuing to be bullish on small business software – Our investment in Talkroute

Over the past two years, Arthur Ventures has loved investing in software that dramatically improves the lives of small business owners.  Whether it be introducing marketing automation and CRM (see: Infusionsoft), providing the highest converting landing pages in the market to take their lead generation to unforeseen levels (see: LeadPages) or helping them keep their sanity with beautifully simple employee schedule (see: WhenIWork) we have seen first hand the powerful and immediate impact software can have in a small business.

Today, we are honored to add another promising company to this great list of Arthur Ventures’ partners that serve this great market.

Meet Talkroute.  Based out of Chicago and founded by brothers Paul and Eric Howey, Talkroute is the easiest virtual phone system for small businesses.  

Most small businesses would like a phone option that is more than a single line, but doesn’t have the feature overload of an enterprise system.  Talkroute enables its customers to take an existing single phone line and immediately turn it into a full phone system to manage their business with the features small businesses actually want most such as multiple phone numbers, call forwarding, call menus, hold queues, hours of operation, custom audio, voicemail, caller ID and much more. 

Reliability is crucial for small businesses.  Calls lost are business lost.   By connecting calls through existing cellular carriers utilizing the Public Switch Telephone Network, Talkroute is able to avoid cellular data plans and maximize reliability (99.98% uptime record) that competing solutions like VOIP lack.

Small businesses want easy deployment and pricing.  Talkroute can be fully deployed in a matter of minutes, requires zero new equipment and has a very simple flat-rate pricing plans that don’t bill you by the minute.

With thousands of businesses on the Talkroute system in just about one year since launch, we think Talkroute is on the right side of change in a market that will be experiencing much of it over the next 10 years.

We are thrilled to work with Paul and Eric.  We have a genuine appreciate for the thoughtfulness with which they’ve built Talkroute.  Bootstrappers at heart with a big vision, they’ll fit right into the Arthur Ventures partner network.

Welcome aboard!