Behavioral-Health Focused Quartet Plans Hires With $7M Series A

The preventive care movement has been conquering the medical world, with the goal of simultaneously making patients healthier and saving the healthcare system money by rooting out the causes of an illness.

Quartet Health, a New York technology business that announced a $7 million Series A funding today, is applying the idea to behavioral health. The round was led by Annie Lamont, a managing partner at Oak HC/FT who has financed other healthcare companies including Castlight Health (NYSE:CSLT) and Athenahealth (NASD:ATHN). Shulman Ventures, Fidelity Biosciences, and Polaris Partners also participated.

On one level, the company’s goal is simple: It wants to better connect the patients of primary care physicians with mental health care, or vice versa, because of the connections between mental and physical health problems, said founder and CEO Arun Gupta. By developing working pathways between the two groups, which have typically operated separately, it can improve the health of people who simultaneously suffer from both types of conditions, such as depression and diabetes, asthma and anxiety, or congestive heart failure and depression, Gupta said.

“When we look at those common co-morbidities, they’re a lot more common than one would think,” Gupta said. For people who deal with both physical and mental health issues, “their costs are about 30 percent higher and readmission rates are twice as high,” he said.

Quartet collects data about the patients who are served by Quartet’s clients, which include health insurers and health provider systems. The company stores that data in its cloud software system, which Gupta said is securely encrypted from an architecture standpoint.

The data includes information that someone, such as an insurer, might collect about claims its users make, or personal health information a patient might fill out when he or she visits a clinic for the first time, Gupta said. The information about a patient is only shared if the person consents, he said.

The purpose of storing the data in the cloud is to give easy access to everyone—primary care physicians, mental health practitioners, and the patients who visit both—to improve the effectiveness of care, Gupta said. A primary care physician, who has a patient that previously suffered heart failure and now is experiencing depression, for example, may not previously have had a resource to refer the patient for mental health, he said.

The company’s algorithm helps the clinicians and patients determine the type of behavioral care provider a patient may need. It can also track whether the treatment is effective, Gupta said.

“The hallmark of course is for behavioral health providers and primary care physicians to have an open, collaborative relationship like they do in any other part of the medical world,” he said. “We put all that in the hands of the patient, so they have access and control.”

Quartet plans to use the funding for product development, especially to hire new product engineers and personnel with experience in behavioral health, Gupta said. The business currently has about 15 employees and plans to grow “pretty aggressively,” he said.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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