With $500K bump, Northwell Playbacks it forward

Keep in touch: Improved communications between patients and providers is the main focus of Playback Health's multimedia solutions, coming soon to a Northwell Health hospital near you.

A Westchester County startup focused on patient-engagement solutions has earned a chunky Northwell Health seed investment.

Northwell Ventures, the investment arm of the New Hyde Park-based health system, has boosted Mount Kisco-based technology startup Playback Health Inc. to the tune of $500,000, part of what the health system termed “a targeted $1.25 million seed-round financing in software designed to improve communications between physicians and patients.”

The investment will help the early-stage software company integrate its patient-focused multimedia solutions throughout the Northwell Health system this year – then in “other ‘early adopter’ health systems” and eventually the healthcare industry at large, Northwell said Wednesday.

Playback Health is the brainchild of “principal founder” and Chief Medical Officer David Langer, the neurosurgery chairman at Northwell Health’s Manhattan-based Lenox Hill Hospital, and co-founder Gregory Odland, the early-stage tech firm’s chief executive.

Odland called Northwell Health “a terrific partner” and said Playback Health, which launched earlier this year, will leverage the health system’s vast resources as it prepares a full-scale commercial offering for broader-market launch in 2019.

“We are very excited to have their confidence and support as we build our next-gen, video-based patient-centric engagement solution,” Odland said in a statement.

Gregory Odland: Proud partner.

That patient-engagement solution involves screen-capture video and other multimedia tools designed to improve clinical outcomes, raise satisfaction scores and otherwise enhance the patient experience.

The technology is being “reengineered” in Langer’s Neurosurgery Department and will be deployed in other Lenox Hill Hospital departments before branching out to those early adopters, according to Northwell Health, all leading up to that larger 2019 commercialization push.

Playback Health is shaping up at critical moment for healthcare providers, who are facing serious challenges regarding hospital readmissions and other systemic failures related to poor patient-provider communications. The Affordable Care Act, the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program and other federal initiatives have pushed readmissions to the forefront – thousands of nationwide hospitals are now facing stiff readmission penalties, including sharp cuts in Medicare reimbursements – and hospitals are responding by altering their patient-satisfaction and clinical-outcome metrics.

Lenox Hill Hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery has employed “patient-specific video technology” since 2013, according to Northwell Health. A 2017 study examining three years of such efforts showed the use of screen-capture video technology during office visits and hospital discharges “produced a significant boost to patient satisfaction scores, resulting in higher overall hospital ratings.”

Enter Langer and Playback Health’s cloud-based mobile tech, which is projected to produce even better results. Northwell Ventures Senior Vice President of Operations Richard Mulry said the health system “recognizes the value” of the startup’s technologies, calling them “proactive, interactive, personalized and, most importantly, outcome-driven.”

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