Interoperability has been a major challenge in healthcare since the early days of electronic medical records. A 2015 survey of nurses found that the lack of interoperability between medical devices and electronic health records is not only burdensome for them but can lead to dangerous medical errors.
Some healthcare organizations have attempted to integrate their systems to streamline data, but doing so has been a slow, expensive process that is also difficult to maintain. Now, a startup company founded just last year, has developed an integration platform as a service intended to ease some of that pain for healthcare organizations.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL-based Bridge Connector recently raised $4.5 million in seed funding from Tampa, FL-based Axioma Ventures. Bridge Connector allows healthcare organizations to connect disparate systems like electronic medical record systems, billing systems, lab systems, etc.
"We've come up with a system that can really help them automate their data flows," CEO David Wenger told MD+DI.
Bridge Connector acts as a secure pipeline between end-points, moving medical data between systems directly, without needing to store sensitive electronic healthcare information in another database. Data is transferred through a local session using AES 256-bit encryption, and all data is cleared once the transfer is complete, the company noted.
The seed funding is backed by Howard Jenkins, former CEO of Publix Super Markets, who joined Bridge Connector earlier this year as chief strategy officer. Wenger said he feels fortunate to work with Jenkins on a daily basis and learning from his leadership expertise.
"He's really mentored me on how to build a company as fast as we're trying to build a company," Wenger said.
In January the company had six employees, today it has 25, and Wenger said he expects the company to grow rapidly and have roughly 45 employees by the end of the year. That growth is what the seed funds will support, he said, but it has been driven largely by the demand for the product.
“Bridge Connector offers an inexpensive solution to an expensive problem, enabling healthcare organizations to streamline their data flows so they can focus on the treatment of their patients, rather than their data management," Wenger said.
He explained that one of the advantages of using a subscription-based model is that when Bridge Connector gets a new client that needs to integrate a system the company has already worked with, "we're 85% of the way there." At that point, he said, it's just a matter of customization and field mapping, and the company can deploy the integration for that customer very quickly.
Bridge Connector is targeting a multi-billion market opportunity that shows no signs of slowing down.
"There are so many devices and apps and different types of technology that really smart people are creating, but at the end of the day there's still no way to connect it to the other systems that exist already ... so to enable true interoperability in healthcare there needs to be companies like Bridge Connector that can connect any two systems or any three systems or any five systems, regardless of what they're built on," Wenger said.