June 15, 2015

When my co-founders Mat Kendall, Edwin Miller, and I launched Aledade last June, I wrote that our mission was simple: empowering doctors on the front lines of medicine to put them back in control of health care—and rewarding them for the unique value they create. Today, a few days shy of our first birthday, we are announcing that we have raised $30 million in a funding round led by ARCH Venture Partners, and including our Series A funding partners at Venrock. This investment is a testament to the growing demand for our technology-enabled services, and to the rapid progress we have made in creating a platform for doctors to manage the new value-based healthcare economy. But most importantly, it’s a commitment to long-term thinking.

First, we have tapped into a huge unmet need and a growing demand for our healthcare technology services. We hand-picked and signed up 26 practices within weeks of starting the company, and have now established unique partnerships with over 100 primary care practices in 9 states. These practices serve nearly half a million patients, and our multiple accountable care organizations will soon be managing the total cost and quality of care for over 75,000 Medicare patients.

Everywhere we’ve gone – from Orlando to Wichita, Wilmington, and Little Rock – our team is meeting independent primary care doctors eager to be on the front lines of the biggest health care transformation this country has seen in our lifetimes – and hungry for the tools and support to succeed in the new health care economy. All of them have realized that rapid changes in their industry – from the implementation of electronic health records to the shift towards outcome-based reimbursement – require them to rethink the way they’ve operated for years. They want better health for their patients, and a more central role for primary care doctors in coordinating care. But they’ve also recognized that, to thrive in the new health care economy, they need a partner whose interests are aligned with theirs- to act in the patient’s best interest.

Second, we have built a platform for managing practice change. We have provided our doctors with strategic direction. We’ve advised on, and implemented, important workflow changes. We’ve optimized electronic health records to make it easier to do the right thing for the patient. We’ve shown doctors and their staff data they had never seen before. And we’ve built cloud-based technology to enable them to turn that intelligence into active patient care. As a result, we’ve seen preventive visits and immunizations soar, and primary care practices open their doors whenever their patients need them.

But we realize that these steps are merely the beginning of our work. We know that there is so much more we need to learn, so much more we need to build, and so much more we need to do.

We cannot solve today’s problems with the same short-sighted thinking that created them. Success at value-based care requires a break from the “coin-operated” immediate gratification of fee-for-service. It means longitudinal care, deeper relationships, and the vision and resources to play a long game- to invest in prevention and chronic disease management even when its pay-offs are delayed.

This investment means that we can meet the demand from physicians for our unique ACO model, and to expand the services we offer our partner practices. This money will help us build additional software and analytic tools for our practices; expanded service offerings; and add more on-the-ground support for our doctors and their staffs. It means being able to expand to private payers. Most of all, it means being able to invest in long-term prevention and chronic disease management, and patient engagement efforts that may take years to bear fruit.

I’m inordinately proud of our amazing team, and the effort and sacrifice that has brought us to this point. But today is not simply a day for celebration. It’s a day to renew our commitment to the mission that started this company, and redouble our efforts to empower primary care doctors to take control of the chaos and waste that comprises too much of our health care system.

We need to build a platform that will provide all the services our practices need, not just some; that will serve all of our practice’s patients, not just the ones on Medicare. That will deliver results not for one ACO, or for five, but for 50 – or 500. Better health at lower cost not just for one year, or three, but for a lifetime.

As Aledade’s CTO Edwin Miller said the other week, “It’s time to fire ourselves, re-hire some better versions, and take it to the next level.”

Let’s get to work.