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Scouting Report-Cured: Customizing CRM for the Healthcare Ecosystem

The Driver:

Cured, a healthcare digital marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) platform, has raised $10 million in its Series A funding round. The round was led by DNA Capital and joined by CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, UCHealth, High Alpha, Waterline Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, and Headwater Ventures. Upon closure of the round DNA Capital partner Partha Mishra, will join Cured’s Board of Directors. Proceeds of the funding will be deployed in accelerating the advancement of the Digital Marketing and Insights platform, and the continued growth of Cured’s team of healthcare and customer experience experts.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cured’s clients have sent over 35 million interactions through the company’s solutions.

  • According to Pew Research, 80% of Internet users have searched on health-related topics online yet less than one-third typically use patient portals.

  • Cured is a pioneer of deploying machine learning models to contextualize outputs, which are then applied to a health system setting.

  • According to the company, Cured has a 45% appointment scheduling rate, significantly above the industry average.

The Story:

Cured was founded in May of 2018 by CEO Andrew Sawyer, Ashmer Aslam, and Ro Narayan; former employees of Epic Systems and SalesForce. During their time in other roles, the founders noticed that healthcare organizations were consistently under-utilizing CRM, other marketing automation tools, and similar cloud-based platforms relative to how productively they were being used in other industries (ex: retail, financial services). Unlike other industries, the healthcare industry sends digital communication to patients as an exception instead of a norm. To address this gap, the founders defined an initial roadmap of numerous solutions they envisaged on a platform, which eventually became the minimum viable product of Cured Health.

Since its launch Cured has partnered with leading health systems, healthcare services, and digital health organizations to transform their growth and experience strategies through technology. Cured provides a range of services to consumers that include driving consumers to preventative services, creating awareness of healthcare options suitable to their situation, and providing guidance to foster adherence and engagement. Cured enables leading healthcare organizations to engage patients as customers by enhancing user experience. With an established customer base of several top 50 health system and healthcare services organizations, Cured solutions enhance interaction with patients, partner relationships management, patient outreach relevance, and patient access experience and efficacy. These created interactions using data from EMRs and other sources, improve healthcare behaviors and patients' connections on more accessible and convenient platforms.

The Differentiators:

Health systems have a lot of structured clinical and industry-specific data, yet data exchanges are complex and resource-intensive. Cured has developed prescriptive data schemas for more efficient management, storage, and mobilization of data. It is one of the first companies to introduce personalized templates, communication channels, and CRM technology to connect with healthcare organizations. Cured is a pioneer of deploying machine learning models that are tailored to an individual’s healthcare based on where they are in their unique healthcare journey which the company believes can markedly improve engagement and loyalty. The data which provides context around when and where a patient is in their care drives communications and marketing strategy that allows health systems to gain insights on consumers’ behaviors and make predictions on their responses to future communications. According to Bill Altorfer, a principal at Cured, “we deploy machine learning models to better understand your first-party data…[which] allows you to not only gain significant insights into your consumers’ behaviors but also predicts how they will respond to your future communications and allow you to message those who are the most likely to take the action you desire”.

Along these lines, detailed analytics helps healthcare organizations in understanding the ROI and performance of their marketing engagements. This unique approach of making data personalized and relevant for consumers helps differentiate Cured from its CRM competitors whose output is often limited to compiling customer data with limited analytics. Applying insights from modeling to identify gaps in health service utilization and more timely delivery of healthcare services to patients helps improve utilization and outcomes. Cured’s latest innovation in healthcare marketing allows healthcare organizations to use over 70 “curations” or pre-built templates of patient journeys with tailored content to create campaigns for customer experiences and custom content to deliver engagement points across different channels. Curations are Cured’s portfolio of 70+ interactions and corresponding care pathways, personalized with content relevant to healthcare consumers at specific points as patients. From care communications and front door inquiry responses to lifecycle and retention communications and growth and awareness campaigns, Curations tie all digital interactions together under one platform.

Compared to other regular marketing templates, Curations is tailored specifically for healthcare organizations. As noted by Altorfer, “Curations are powered by standard first-party data [models] used by the vast majority of healthcare organizations and can be personalized to every consumer at every stage of the consumer lifecycle.”

The Big Picture:

As healthcare becomes increasingly digitalized, patients are becoming more proactive and informed consumers of their role in their own health care and Cured's technology can help them gain proactive insights into their consumer’s behavior. As providers and consumers become more data-driven, CRM systems like Cured make more data available for both parties to be partners in care, something that has historically been lacking. As Ashmer Aslam CTO of Cured put it, “you should view your provider as a trusted advisor and I don’t think any of us feel that way. If the health system is not being proactive, then there is no reason for me to choose your health system over any other.” Despite major advancements in marketing technology, data gathering, and the analytics that accompany it (ex: customer engagement, click-through rates, etc.) many of these advancements have not been deployed in healthcare. According to Ashmer, “all these things that exist in other industries just need to be translated into healthcare speak.”

In addition, healthcare has long had lower rates of digital engagement than other industries, in part due to privacy issues but also due to poor user experience and design. For example, EMR portals are typically underused with the ONC reporting in 2018 that less than 60% of patients were offered online access to their records, and only one-third of patients routinely using portals to access them. Tools like Cured’s can not only help track portal utilization and awareness but strategically help encourage utilization. In addition, improving marketing analytics has impacts beyond just provider economics. Health systems investment in improving patient engagement with healthcare services and information can improve patients and health system outcomes in terms of tangible metrics such as medication adherence, disease prevention, and chronic care thereby lowering costs and improving care.


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