UPMC, Redesign Health collaboration launches its first startup, app that prepares patients for surgery

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Redesign Health have founded a new startup, Pip Care, that helps patients prepare for and recover from surgery.

It is the first company to be launched from the partnership, which recently began. Redesign Health, a healthcare startup creator, raised $65 million in September from investors like UPMC Enterprises, CVS Health Ventures and General Catalyst. 

UPMC has three centers for perioperative care at UPMC Shadyside, UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Horizon. The centers help patients manage chronic conditions and prepare for surgery. This fall, Pip Care will launch a pilot program at all three hospitals, enabling patients to access to its services like personal, certified health coaches and appointment reminders in its app. The aim is to improve patient confidence and compliance and reduce the chance of complications post-surgery.

“While patients understand a planned surgery can reduce pain, improve mobility and change their quality of life, questions and fears about surgical procedures can lead to delays or even no-shows,” Kathy Kaluhiokalani, founder and CEO of Pip Care, said in a press release. That’s why having human interaction within the app is key, she added.  

The company’s app is built on a medical approach called Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS), which UPMC has been implementing since 2015. Pip Care digitizes and automates protocols like ERAS to simplify the surgical care process for patients and providers.

“Surgery can be incredibly difficult on a patient’s body. In some cases, it can have the same toll as running a marathon,” Aman Mahajan, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of UPMC Perioperative Services, said in the announcement. Helping patients make healthier decisions earlier can speed up their recovery and minimize hospitalization time, Mahajan added. “It is a service that all patients could benefit from, not just those who are at a higher risk for complications.”