Kaizen Health, Inc., a healthcare-logistics and NEMT (non-emergency medical transportation) technology platform recently announced the close of a $3.8 million Series A investment round.
Based in Chicago, Kaizen Health works with healthcare systems to streamline the process of scheduling medical transportation for discharges, clinical trials, recurring appointments like dialysis, cancer treatment and physical therapy. Kaizen Health also works with in-home healthcare providers and senior living communities.
Kaizen Health has a national partnership with Lyft and now with MTM Inc., a St. Louis-based NEMT leader with a nationwide network of more than 1,250 credentialed medical transportation providers.
“We are excited to lead Kaizen’s Series A as we see incredible potential in improving health outcomes and patient experience by removing the barrier of transportation from healthcare,” said Lewis & Clark Ventures Principal, Helen Ciesielski.
Expanding Kaizen’s reach
The cross-investment between the Chicago startup and the St. Louis fund will allow Kaizen to reach more people.
“Investments from the St. Louis community are an integral part of Kaizen Health’s success and growth,” said Kaizen founder and CEO Mindi Knebel. “Funds like Lewis & Clark Ventures are allowing Kaizen to scale quickly and intelligently, and to serve more patients and providers in the process.”
Currently, Kaizen has customer bases in Illinois and California, with plans to expand further. Kaizen will stay based out of Chicago but will be cooperating with MTM and using their business networks in St. Louis.
Ciesielski and Alaina Macia, CEO of MTM, will also join Knebel on Kaizen’s board.
“We’ll have an all-female board, said Ciesielski. “I think it’s cool and unique that we have a healthcare IT company with a female founder and we’ll have an all-female board going forward.”
Innovating NMET with tech
Ciesielski said that for her, the area of non-emergency medical transportation came into focus as she was thinking about parts of the medical industry that were ripe for innovation.
“I was thinking about the social determinants landscape and recognizing that payers and providers are increasingly interested in recognizing the benefit of paying for things that aren’t necessarily traditional medical services,” said Ciesielski. “Over the course of getting to know each other, [Mindi and I] had a shared vision for how the landscape would play out and the company we were looking to build together.”
Ciesielski said that medtech innovation isn’t about starting over from scratch.
“In healthcare, you have great foundational infrastructure and people who have built great businesses,” said Ciesielski. “But with the changing technology, there’s an opportunity to marry the past with the future and take what has worked in the past, but also fix what’s been broken.”
Ciesielski said that technology is a perfect solution for solving gaps in the patient-provider experience and eliminating barriers.
“One of the things that’s important to me in this industry is hearing what NEMT looks like going forward,” said Ciesielski. “If transportation is a barrier to getting you to your medical appointments, then transportation might also be a barrier in other aspects of your life. How do you remove transportation barriers from the areas that impact somebody’s health? I think that’s really part of the vision of Kaizen.”
Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.