With $8 million in hand, MyHealthDirect sees room to grow in digital health world

Back in October, 9-year-old Nashville health IT startup MyHealthDirect landed an investment round of $8 million— the kind of figure that can turn some heads and certainly spur some growth.

Since then, the firm has moved into new office space and is readying itself to meet continued demand for its service: online scheduling tools and other patient access offerings that help connect patients and physicians on behalf of hospitals, health systems and insurers.

“Consumers continue to demand digital tools in health care because it’s so …non-consumer friendly,” said Tom Cox, former COO of Nashville-base Healthways and MyHealthDirect’s CEO since 2012. “We’re really looking at what capabilities we can add to make it easier for consumers to get easier access to the care that they need.” To grow those capabilities and its market share, MyHealthDirect plans on nearly doubling its Nashville workforce, adding between 10 and 12 folks to its current 13-person local headcount. That includes bringing IT development in-house here in Nashville, which the company’s leaders say has been a challenge, but not due to a lack of tech talent supply.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of talent. I think it’s that this market is heating up,” said Ryan Lynch, senior vice president of sales and client services. (Lynch’s assessment jives with a recent report that Nashville is the second-fastest tech job market in the country.)

MyHealthDirect currently delivers access to more than 30 million patients and is at work in 100 hospitals, with 5,000 providers in 24 states. Although Cox expects those figures to grow with demand and customer addition, the company name is not one that will reach household brand status, he said, because MHD’s tools are white-labeled. That means the customers that use MyHealthDirect’s platform carry the name of the customer using it, say a hospital or an insurance plan, rather than the company itself. It’s one of the things Cox says makes his company different from other online scheduling and access tools. So why has the company chosen the white label route? “You think about health care, brand matters a lot. You’re starting to see these large national brands start to franchise,” Cox said. “If they’re going to create consumer-based tools … they don’t want to do that under somebody else’s brand, they want to do that under their brand.”

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