Startup to Watch at CES: A Chat with Captureproof’s CEO Meghan Conroy

Medical diagnosis may get more mobile and visual through Captureproof’s app.

The San Francisco-based startup is trying to reduce the need for patients to see their doctors in person. Through an iPhone app and mobile Web portal, Captureproof lets people send images and video to their physicians to help assess their recovery from surgery, as well as have a look at visible symptoms of potential maladies. This include images of wound recovery, seeing an injured limb’s range of motion, or looking at the signs of a possible seizure.

I came across Captureproof here at the annual International CES tradeshow, in the Eureka Park section for startups. Founded in 2012, Captureproof is an alumnus of the Techstars Chicago 2013 class and its backers include New York-based angel investor Joanne Wilson.

I asked Captureproof CEO and founder Meghan Conroy to join me for an onstage interview at CES in Las Vegas, for a panel called “Startups to Watch.” The session was co-hosted by Tom’s Guide and Laptop magazine editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer, who interviewed Ultrahaptics, a startup whose technology creates tactile sensations in midair as a new type of touch interface.

During our interview, Conroy said she believes that in addition to helping doctors diagnose patients remotely, Captureproof could be part of broader changes in the medical world. “Within a few years, we’re going to regard electronic health records that don’t have a visual component as being analogous to getting a report about an X-ray but not looking at the X-ray film,” she said.

Conroy believes her company could be part of an effort to improve the way medical care is provided. “In America, we have effectively made healthcare as inefficient as possible in order for physicians to be paid,” she said. The fee-for-service model, she said, means there may be tests, surgeries and other procedures conducted that might not be necessary in order to reach a diagnosis or outcome. “The real challenge in mobile health is you have to be relevant in this really broken system that we have today, where efficiency is not appreciated and not wanted,” she said.

Captureproof has made some inroads, though, working with a large managed care organization on a pilot program looking at recovery from knee replacement surgery.

The startup’s service, Conroy said, can be used to help assess a diverse array of conditions, and might even reduce the need for young children to have electroencephalography (EEG) tests. “Imagine you’re a mom with an 8-month-old kid and you think they’re having a seizure,” she said. “Now you’re going to the brain doctor because you think something is wrong with your baby.”

Conroy believes Captureproof could alleviate such worry in some cases where physicians are able to make diagnoses remotely. “There is a vast ability for use to make health care efficient, but also for us to make our society healthy,” she said.

A new rule under Medicare, Conroy said, could further help adoption of company’s service. The new regulation, which went into effect Jan. 1, reimburses physicians for spending time remotely monitoring and drafting a plan of action for patients with certain related conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.

“This is landmark for us,” Conroy said. “We’re rolling it out for podiatrists and neurologists. We’re hoping this is the beginning for a really big shift.”

That leads to the question, however, of whether health insurers might want to use these images to reassess a patient’s coverage.

It sounds like the answer is yes in some cases. Insurance companies want to see clear documentation of health, Conroy said. For example, she said Captureproof has been used by physicians performing hospice care, helping patients through the end of life. “You have to document that the patient still needs [care] if the patient is taking, for the insurance company, longer than anticipated to pass away,” she said.

Since the images transmitted through Captureproof are reliant on the camera and the skill of the person taking the photo or video, quality of the visuals can vary. Conroy said doctors are not forced to make judgments based solely on the images and could still call the patient in for an office visit. “This is really additive information,” she said, “giving you more data to communicate with your doctor.”

Conroy said she is looking at tying in data from wearable devices, but Captureproof is not looking to get into the sensors market.

Sharing personal images, even intended for one’s physician, can raise concerns about privacy. Captureproof is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant, Conroy said, meeting federal requirements for securely managing patient data. She said HIPAA rules make it clear the patient owns such images and information.

Captureproof also retains the data for a minimum of seven years, which is required by law, Conroy said, for medical records. The HIPAA rules also allow the company to anonymize and aggregate that information, which she believes can help Captureproof’s system evolve.

“We’re looking forward to the day when it’s your seventh day post-op and your incision site is still way too red, and we give you a heads-up that the doctor is calling because something is up,” she said.

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