FirstRound Wants to Invest in the Coming Healthcare Revolution

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As far as bloated, staid industries desperately in need of disruption go, it’s hard to get bigger than healthcare. Which might be why we’ve been seeing more start-ups aiming to do just that get some accelerator and investor love recently. Who cares about sexiness when there’s a brave new market to create.

First Round Capital is certainly has its ears perked. Earlier this week, First Round, along with Charles River Ventures, The Band of Angels, and Maneesh Arora, a former product manager at Google Health, invested a combined $1.7 million to seed MotherKnows, an online health record service targeted directly at parents. (The start-up is based in Menlo Park, but presented at TechCrunch Disrupt in NYC.)

Currently in beta and accepting sign-ups, MotherKnows aims to give parents round-the-clock access to their kids’ health records (immunizations, allergies, growth charts, etc.) The data is encrypted, but parents can decide to share it with doctors, caregivers, or schools– in theory making the cumbersome, antiquated process of accessing health care records more immediate and user-friendly.

In a post on his Tumblr, Sneakerhead VC, First Round’s Phineas Barnes says he sees companies like MotherKnows as “consumerizing” the healthcare in the same way that the video game Dance Dance Revolution brought consumer tech to health and wellness.

The revolution in health care will not require the entry of social security numbers in triplicate with each visit just so they can be transposed via carbon copy, read into a series of dictations on mini-cassette tapes by doctors and transcribed into digital form by the same person who handed you the form when you showed up 15 minutes early for your doctor who was running 45 minutes late. It will not require pencil and paper or photocopies of insurance cards and the memorization of group numbers and co-pays. The revolution will know who you are and remind you where you have been, what treatment you have had and how you got better. The health care revolution will be consumerized.

The revolution will not be installed on a circa 1995 piece of equipment and rented out for thousands of dollars a night. It will not get processed and printed onto a billing statement to be mailed to your home and then forwarded to your insurance provider only to be rejected and re-submitted over and over. The revolution will be found in an appstore and it will run on your smartphone for free. It will capture data, motivate action and enable the treatment of the causes of disease not the symptoms. The revolution will help us all become consumers of wellness through better behavior and enable patients to walk in and demand that their doctor treat them as a person rather than a set of symptoms. The revolution will be consumerized.

Agents of the revolution, you know who to call. FirstRound Wants to Invest in the Coming Healthcare Revolution