Advocating for her daughter led Kristen Valdes to start her own company. Her startup pulls together patients’ health records from different sources and helps navigate them through the next steps of their care.
It took more than seven years of searching for Valdes’ daughter to reach a diagnosis for an autoimmune condition. They went from specialist to specialist, who all ordered the same lab work and procedures. The process was so cumbersome that even Valdes, a former UnitedHealthcare executive, found it challenging to navigate
“My daughter had 17 patient portals. None of them talked to each other,” Valdes said in a Zoom interview. “When I started seeing all of her data flow into a longitudinal timeline, it brought tears to my eyes. Because it was such a challenge, and I felt like every doctor that we went to, we were starting over. We had to tell her story and remember all of the highlights of that story for the doctor to have a complete picture.”
After a near-fatal incident because two electronic medical record systems wouldn’t communicate with each other, Valdes had enough. She requested all of her daughter’s records and pulled them all together in one place to share with her doctors. That led to them ordering the test that ultimately resulted in her diagnosis.
“Without seeing that picture, I can honestly say as a caregiver, I was treated like the mom who knew too much about healthcare that was trying to find something wrong with an otherwise perfectly healthy child,” she said.
Talking to other families who had their own stories, Valdes turned what she had built for her daughter into a broader platform. The startup, called B.Well Connected Health, recently raised $32 million in a funding round led by HLM Venture Partners. Some of its other backers include Walgreens and UnityPoint Health Ventures.
The Baltimore-based company can aggregate data from healthcare providers, insurers, pharmacies, labs and wearable devices, and use that information to provide personalized guidance.
For example, it might send alerts when it’s time to refill a medication, or for periodic testing of blood sugar levels. Lab results are plotted over time, and people can view information about each test, when it was taken and who ordered it.
B.Well can also use this information to help people navigate their benefits and in-network providers. Users can choose to share it with their providers, or other people they trust, such as a family member.
“When we think about some of our seniors, especially those with chronic conditions, who are taking 11-14 medications per day, it’s a much more comprehensive way to share healthcare data,” Valdes said.
In the last year, B.Well’s business has doubled as more companies have implemented its services, Valdes said. Its users include self-insured employers, insurance companies, health systems and retail pharmacies, who offer it as a white-label benefit.
B.Well plans to use the funds to build out its commercialization team to help support the pace of growth. It also plans to connect to more types of data sources, including vision, dental, and imaging records.