Blog 22: Nurse-1-1
Enabling improved digital health outcomes through the power of nurses on call
Company: Nurse-1-1 is a conversational marketing company for healthcare that is bringing nurses to the frontlines of digital health. Through a nationwide network of nurses and a HIPAA-compliant complete customer service platform, Nurse-1-1 offers a live nurse chat tool that can be embedded directly into other digital platforms, which helps patients make better decisions leading to increased adherence. At-home testing, pharmaceutical, and digital health companies of all sizes rely on Nurse-1-1 to improve education, increase adherence and increase patient satisfaction.
HQ Location & Year Founded: Boston, 2016
Founder: Michael Sheeley has a mission to connect health-concerned consumers to nurses in their own communities that is based on personal experience he and his wife had when their daughter was born with a congenital heart defect. “Texting with our friend Kim, who happened to be a pediatric nurse practitioner, helped us get through the scary and confusing healthcare system. I want everyone to have access to these same caring and compassionate professionals in our communities.” Michael previously co-founded two venture-backed companies as Co-founder and Head of Product at the health and fitness-tracking platform RunKeeper and Co-founder and CEO of the AI-powered local restaurant ordering platform Chef Nightly. Michael also served as Head of Product at the venture-backed startup Mobee, a retail app that rewards consumers by providing feedback to local retailers.
Funds Raised and VC Investors: A total of $3.5 million has been raised, including seed round led by Argon Ventures, Hyperplane Venture Capital, and York IE.
Where did the idea for Nurse-1-1 originate?
The idea for Nurse-1-1 dates back to the birth of my daughter, Lydia, who was born with a congenital heart defect and required heart surgery at just three months old. The healthcare system at the time was complicated and lacked empathy, and I needed more than just clinical results to get me through.
Thankfully I had my friend Kim, a pediatric nurse practitioner, who was there to help support my family every step of the way. Kim, who eventually became my co-founder, opened my eyes to the need for empathy and access in healthcare, and thus Nurse-1-1 was born.
You can read more about the story here.
What is the key problem that Nurse-1-1 intends to solve?
Non-adherence to medications costs the healthcare system $300 billion annually. While digital healthcare and online pharma are great initial options, they come with drawbacks. Add COVID-19 to the mix, and it is near impossible to get your health questions answered, unless you are sitting right next to a doctor or a nurse.
Nurse-1-1 is changing that dynamic. We are providing access to care exactly when patients need it. Patients need the empathy and expertise of a nurse to help answer their questions about side effects, affordability, and more. Nurse-1-1 is marrying the benefits of at-home care with the influence of professional opinions.
We drive patient activation and adherence. Our nurse network educates patients, helping our partner companies guide their patients through their digital health journey—for example, increasing filled prescriptions, successfully returning an at-home test to the lab, or navigating patients to higher-value services. We provide our customers with unprecedented access to our nationwide nursing network by bringing conversational marketing to healthcare.
How are you most differentiated as a service?
On the product side, patients get to connect with an actual nurse - not just a call center employee with a check list or an AI bot. Human to human interaction with trust, empathy, and influence. We are HIPAA-compliant and have technical expertise focused on supporting and caring for patients that other conversational marketing companies don’t have. We also bring data-driven analytics that help companies market better.
Our team has a background in consumer tech (Uber, RunKeeper) so building tech people actually want, which is different than clinical solutions. One of our co-founders is a nurse and our company has a nationwide network of nurses that helps ensure the patient is front and center in every decision the company makes
What are the company’s key accomplishments to date?
In 2021, our platform conducted over 10,000 patient consultations through our partnerships with digital health, at-home testing, and pharma companies. On average, patients were connected with a nurse in fewer than eight seconds. Our network of nurses is strong and growing at almost 3,000 nationwide.
In a program where we aimed to divert patients away from the ER when it wasn’t appropriate, 95% of those patients chose other more appropriate forms of care (e.g. a telemedicine visit with a provider) when they initially thought they needed to go to the ER.
Finally, Nurse-1-1 enjoys an “excellent” Net Promoter Score of 58, emphasizing how much patients enjoy the experience and are likely to refer a friend. A controlled study by one of Nurse-1-1’s largest digital health partners showed a 255% increase in sign-ups. Both factors highlight Nurse-1-1’s ability to strongly engage with and influence patients.
What lies ahead in the product plans for Nurse-1-1?
In the future, we envision Nurse-1-1 as a core element to all patient touch points within digital healthcare. Our goal is to build a product that allows the nurse to walk any patient through any digital health experience. We aim to be the partner of choice for digital health companies to build a full-service customer service platform that better serves their patients.
As our live chat tool is embedded on more and more major health platforms, over time this will allow for a nurse to chat with a patient as they travel from health service to health service, just as a nurse would walk a patient from radiology to the operating room and back to their room to rest. We’ll do the same for patients using digital health services.
What are the long-term strategic growth objectives?
Pairing patients across the globe with a trusted nurse, just like I had with Kim. This type of access to nurses shouldn’t just be for people privileged enough to live in neighborhoods with world-class providers. Everyone should have this type of access.
For each of the past 20 years, the Gallup poll has rated nursing as the most trusted profession in America. We are bringing this trust into the growing digital health market, pioneering a new category in healthcare with our patient-centric and dialogue-driven approach to care. In the future, we envision Nurse-1-1 as a core element to all patient touch points within digital healthcare.
As nearly anyone who has sought any medical diagnosis or treatment can attest, nurses are vital in not only providing essential care, but in communicating accurate, timely information with patience and empathy. The shift into digital health has been critical for many in the population for numerous reasons. It is precisely the ability to access professional support remotely, especially for times when face-to-face visits are not essential, that allows people to speak with their providers at all. For lower income individuals, this solves issues of transportation, time out of work, and uncertain insurance coverage. For Nurse-1-1, patient adherence to medication is at the forefront and is a costly problem that must be solved to save lives and improve health outcomes. A team of prepared, round-the-clock nurses who can support health communication and delivery will become integral, while Nurse-1-1 also provides nurses the opportunity to enhance their income within the confines of their own home and schedule availability.
Disclaimer: I invested with personal funds in the Series Seed round of Nurse-1-1 in early 2022.