By: Todd Nelson Finance & Commerce July 30, 2019 3:42 pm
Health care providers, schools and students have a critical relationship in creating the future clinician workforce. But that relationship, often still managed on paper and through email, one discipline and hospital or clinic at a time,
is inefficient, according to Katrina Anderson, CEO and co-founder Minneapolis-based startup ClinicianNexus.
The answer, Anderson said, is ClinicianNexus’ online platform for managing clinical rotations for multiple patient care roles. ClinicianNexus directly connects providers, schools and students to find the right clinical fit, streamline the process of scheduling rotations and centralize communications among all parties.
Clinical rotations are required to prepare nursing, medical and students in health-related disciplines to care for patients, Anderson said. Schools rely on hospitals and clinics to provide that experience. Health systems often consider recruiting these students for permanent positions as part of their long-term hiring strategies.
The partnership today, however, is cumbersome and time-consuming, Anderson said. Students struggle to find appropriate rotations. Schools seek to lock in as many training slots at as many sites as possible. Health systems get bombarded with inquiries about clinical rotations from individual schools and students.
Adding urgency is the exploding demand for workers to care for an older, sicker population. The projected supply of workers coming into the industry will not fill the 2.3 million new health care jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts creation of through 2026, according to a 2018 analysis from health care staffing consultancy Mercer. The analysis projects workforce gaps of more than 680,000 positions by 2025 for home health aides, nursing assistants, lab technologists and technicians, nurse practitioners and physicians and surgeons.
The idea for ClinicianNexus occurred to Anderson while she was working at HealthPartners and trying to determine the number of nurse practitioner and physician assistant students the system was bringing in after its merger with Park Nicollet Health Services.
Anderson, then completing a health care MBA at the University of St. Thomas, looked without success for software to tackle the problem. With encouragement from a HealthPartners executive, Anderson departed to launch ClinicianNexus in 2016.
“I jokingly say now I built what we couldn’t find on the market when I was at HealthPartners,” Anderson said.
ClinicianNexus this year has gone live with 60 hospitals and 100 schools across the country and has an average of more than 250 students a week joining the platform, Anderson said.
The company has raised $650,000 in financing from family, friends, individual angel investors and the University of St. Thomas, Anderson said. It has annual recurring revenue of $300,000 but is not yet profitable. ClinicianNexus offers a free version of its platform and generates revenue from a premium version with enterprise features.
This summer, Anderson and part of her team are spending three months in Los Angeles as one of 11 companies in the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator program. ClinicianNexus is receiving $100,000 from the program in addition to mentoring and networking with entrepreneurs and investors.
The timing and location are favorable, Anderson said, because California last year passed a bill requiring schools to report the data ClinicianNexus collects. She wants to see whether the state’s solution could serve as a template that ClinicianNexus could take to other states or regions.
ClinicianNexus already has ties to Southern California, where it began beta testing in 2017 at Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley, Anderson said.
The Riverside system is managing clinical rotations for medical and physician assistant students in half the time with ClinicianNexus compared to its previous “half electronic, half paper” system, said Denise Adams, institutional coordinator for graduate medical education. Her office now manages rotations for many additional disciplines including nursing, nurse anesthetist and pharmacy students.
“I could not be happier,” Adams said. “I don’t know of any other program that is addressing all of those different student types without doing a bunch of workarounds.”
Managing rotations for multiple disciplines — ClinicianNexus is up to more than three dozen — is a key differentiator, Anderson said.
“The growth potential here is great,” Anderson said. “There isn’t a clear winner yet in this space.”
In May, ClinicianNexus announced a partnership that integrates its clinical rotation management technology with the background screening and monitoring services of Houston-based PreCheck, which operates in half of the country’s hospitals.
Q: How has Minnesota helped you to begin and develop your work in the medical space?
A: I love what Medical Alley [Association] is doing. The fact that they’re reached more outside of just pure medical device has been critical in the last couple of years. … In putting Manova [Summit] together, that’s helpful in bringing people to Minnesota and giving Minnesota a global stage. We’re trying to be helpful in some part of that. I’ve also been grateful because we have so many successful health care founders like [Bright Health founder] Kyle Rolfing and [Zipnosis CEO and co-founder] Jon Pearce. The more that we have exits, the more that we have successful companies, the more that we can hope to co-create what that looks like going forward.
Q: What would it take to foster the industry’s development and keep it growing?
A: I love what Cedars-Sinai decided to do with this program because it created a means to intentionally take in innovation and vet it on behalf of the organization but also augment it for the entire community, not just the LA community but for the national and global community. There are global companies here in this program. That’s a good example to follow.