When Cobby Amoah’s mother spent several weeks waiting to see a health specialist, he knew there had to be a way to decrease the wait time and access to specialists.
“It was really taking forever to get,” Amoah said. “Then she only spent about seven to 10 minutes in the actual consultation. So all that waiting just for that.”
So in January, Amoah and co-founder Charles Kunene founded Obaa, a Boston-based company that would provide a way for primary doctors to communicate with specialists, reducing the wait times for specialty care.
The initial solution was a mobile application that would allow doctors to send messages to specialists. But the founders quickly realized that was not enough. Specialists needed more information. They needed to see the patient.
With that understanding, Obaa moved to video and then evolved to Google Glass, giving doctors the ability to record or stream a visit and have full use of their hands.
The company, which will graduate from Health Wildcatters on Thursday at Pitch Day, now has raised enough funds to launch three pilots of its system called Prime. The company is currently focused on helping primary care doctors connect with dermatologists.
It’s planning to work on all future development in Dallas, where the company has decided to relocate.
Here’s a look at Obaa and what it’s working on.
What does Obaa’s Prime do?
We have a version out right now, version 1.5, and it allows primary care doctors to put on Google Glass and have an electronic consultation. They can record a video with comments and swipe a list of providers, right now just dermatologists, on Google Glass. It will send out the consultation to that dermatologist. The dermatologist will see it on their dashboard. Then they can develop a treatment plan and put that on the dashboard. We have two options – a live consultation and video recording. What we’re aiming for is to have a reply in 24 hours from the initial consultation. Right now we’re doing 48 hours.
How are you funded?
Pfizer has a mobile fellowship that comes with $5,000 for people who want to start a mobile health venture. That helped with the initial stages of R&D and trying to build a basic prototype. We got $10,000 from The Clinton Foundation, which helped with the prototype and buy Google Glass to test. Then we got $20,000 from MIT’s Global Founders' Skills Accelerator. They don’t take any equity so it’s kind of like grant money. That helped us with storing videos. Health Wildcatters invested $30,000, and we raised $20,000 from angel investors for the HIPPA-compliant back end and to bring on a couple of customers this fall.
How do you make money?
We charge the primary care providers a fee of $250 with platform. If this doesn’t drive enough traffic, they don’t’ have to pay for it. Going forward, we’re thinking of also charging a small fee for dermatologists, like a $10 fee per visit. But right now, we only have one revenue stream.
Who gets the patient’s money after a video consultation?
We don’t decide how much the patient pays. What they might do is offer this consultation, and then out of the fee the patient pays, $50 might go to the primary care doctor and $100 to the dermatologist or however they decide. They decide together. We are only a software company. We help them connect. They decide the financial split. For the dermatologists and primary care doctors, it makes a lot of sense. Dermatologists spend an average of five minutes on our platform. So it makes financial sense to take the appointments and bring in extra money. It should also increase the number of patients for the primary care doctor.
Dermatology has the longest wait times, and it’s growing. Other specialties are improving, but this one is getting stuck. It’s mostly because we’re not matching supply to demand. So you have dermatologists in certain areas that have a huge backlog, and other dermatologists in certain areas with no backlogs. So if you can get the dermatologist with no backlog in Iowa to see a Boston patient, you might be able to reduce wait times.
At what stage of development is Obaa?
We’re doing beta testing. Prime offers a fully HIPPA-compliant, 720-pixel video. The doctors can archive the videos, which stay on the platform for 7 years. We have the Soderstrom Skin Institute whose pilot will start later this month in Peoria, Illinois. Then the Waverly Health Center in Illinois is starting Nov. 18. We started with Mayo Clinic two weeks ago in Rochester.
Why did you decide to stay in Dallas?
We think Dallas has a lot of health care systems. Dallas has three of the largest – Baylor, Texas Health Resources and Tenet. It would be in our best interest to stay and develop those relationships.
Right now our focus is on products and fundraising. We’re working on version 2 with additional improvements with the dashboard and user experience. Our next round of fundraising will allow us to bring on additional customers.
Danielle covers technology and startups for the Dallas Business Journal. Subscribe to our new TechFlash email newsletter.