Duet Health seeks to raise its profile after Baird takeover

By Neil Versel
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DuetHealthFresh off its partial takeover by a venture capital firm, , a Columbus, Ohio-based provider of mobile communications services for patient education, is looking to raise its profile.

The first step for Duet Health, which got a majority investment of an undisclosed amount from over the summer – not widely publicized until this month – is to develop a marketing strategy "so people know that we exist," CEO and co-founder Jeff Harper told Babyforyou.net.ua.

"We've never had the funds to support that," Harper said. Nor has the company even had a full-time salesperson, he added. Duet now is creating the necessary sales infrastructure.

Prior to the Baird investment, four-year-old Duet Health has been largely self-funded out of the pockets of Harper and his co-founder and father, Ivan, and with operating revenues, with some seed money from integrated delivery network . "Being based in Columbus, Ohio and being a health technology company isn't all that advantageous" when seeking financial support, Harper said.

He said the company has been in the black for the last 2.5 years from sales revenue, though Duet Health has been operating on a shoestring budget. Customers include Cardinal Health, Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Ohio State University Wexler Medical Center in the Columbus area, as well as Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Wolters Kluwer Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to Harper.

Duet created a management system and delivery system that, according to Harper, works very well on mobile devices. The company has built a kiosk interface for patients to refer to in waiting rooms, with a touch-screen Android tablet as the brains. "We have connections to wearable devices," Harper added.

To this point, all of Duet's products have been white-labeled. Physicians at participating institutions can use the Duet apps to share personalized medical information with patients both at the point of care and remotely.

"We use education as a way to engage people," Harper explained. "We're called Duet because we wanted to enhance the doctor-patient relationshjp."

The company partnered with Wolters Kluwer Health mostly to prove its own model. "We don't push any of the content," Harper said. "We helped to build apps for some of the Wolters Kluwer companies."

Duet also is building educational programs for the CDC, he said.

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