By ELISE REUTER
A startup building tools to prevent opioid addiction closed a $15 million funding round. AxialHealthcare raised the new funds from previous investors, including Oak HC/FT, .406 Ventures, BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners and the Sandbox Advantage Fund. The company plans to use the additional funds to build tools to support patients struggling with addiction and connect them with resources in their communities.
“It’s not one size fits all. We want to go really deep into communities and understand exactly how the epidemics affect the community, what providers are there and which providers offer quality care,” said Carter Paine, who became axialHealthcare’s CEO last year. “We plan to use the funding to support our expansion in terms of putting feet on the street in those communities that we serve.”
Nashville-based axialHealthcare originally started as an analytics company, which analyzed claims data to help providers identify patients at risk of addiction. For example, it can show how many other physicians have prescribed a patient opioids in the past, or if they had been admitted to the ER for an overdose.
Now, axialHealthcare is building out tools for patients and their families to help them navigate substance use disorder treatment and recovery. For example, it helps them connect to community resources, such as transportation, housing or job assistance programs.
“It’s one of the hardest areas to navigate. Patients and families are often just going to Google, which is not enough info on where is there high-quality treatment in community and what is the right level of care for a patient as they deal with this disease,” Paine said.
The startup also has resources to connect patients to a health coach that can support them in their treatment.
“We want to be that trusted support and advocate,” Paine said. “It’s a wickedly hard disease to conquer or to go into remission on. Anyone who has gone through this would tell you they had people they leaned on as they go through recovery.”
Oak HC/FT General Partner Nancy Brown, who joined axialHealthcare’s board in 2016 after her firm led a $16.5 million round in the startup, said the company broadening its tools across the entire spectrum from substance abuse to treatment would allow it to have a bigger impact.
“We have been focused on solutions associated with the opioid addiction crisis since our earlier investment in axial. It became clear that in order to have the substantial and sustained impact we hoped for we needed to broaden our tools to support the entire continuum from prevention to treatment,” she said in an emailed statement. “Carter Paine is an experienced leader who has proven ability to take a disconnected healthcare ecosystem and provide tech enabled services to drive improvement to clinical outcomes and costs at scale.”
Paine joined axialHealthcare last year from his previous startup, NaviHealth, a post-acute care company, taking the place of axialHealthcare’s longtime CEO, John Donahue.
Seven health plans currently use axialHealthcare’s services, covering a few million members. In addition to building out its platforms, the company plans to build out the number of clients it serves.