Verily co-founder grabs $22.6M for virtual cardiology care startup Story Health

Specialty digital health startup Story Health has raised $22.6 million in series A funding for its virtual cardiology care platform.

The company launched in 2020 with Verily co-founder Tom Stanis behind the wheel alongside his Verily colleague Nikhil Roy and cardiologist Ashul Govil, M.D., to reimagine specialty care for patients with heart failure.

Story Health's platform connects patients through remote patient monitoring tools like blood pressure cuffs and heart rate monitors and integrates with electronic health records systems from Epic and Cerner.

The company's artificial intelligence technology can then generate insights from those patient data to help clinicians find the ideal medication and dosage for each patient.

Stanis, who serves as CEO of Story Health, told Fierce Healthcare the company draws on his personal experience with patients with high-acuity conditions. Three years ago, his father had a stroke, and he wasn’t able to get the comprehensive support he needed.

“He spent several years trying to get his medication in the right place and kept having different side effects,” Stanis said. “The neurologist did an amazing job saving his life in the hospital, but they just do not have the tools to be able to care for people beyond the clinic.”

Story Health also provides health coaches who can help patients meet their nonclinical needs, including access challenges like transportation challenges or medication costs, to reduce the burdens placed on clinicians.

“Many of the barriers our patients face are not clinical in nature; they’re social. Just because your doctor prescribed you the best possible treatment doesn’t mean you can actually get access to it,” Stanis said. “All these other things that sometimes end up falling on the shoulders of a nurse or nurse practitioner, now we can have someone else manage them so the nurses and nurse practitioners can practice at the top of their license as well.”

Medication adherence is critical for heart failure patients. Stanis said weak adherence doesn’t usually mean a patient has simply forgotten to take their medication, but more likely indicates there’s something about the patient’s medication regimen that should change.

“Sometimes medications make people feel terrible. Sometimes they’re unaffordable. These are some of the things that we can help with,” he said, noting clinicians are often too overwhelmed to manage individual patients’ medication titration to the degree necessary for a high-acuity condition.

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Northpond Ventures and B Capital Group co-led the series A round, joined by LRVHealth and existing investors Define Ventures and General Catalyst.

The company has raised $27 million to date.

Stanis said the company plans to use the fresh funding to deepen its partnerships with health systems and broaden its commercial reach while continuing to build on the platform.

The startup already offers at-home blood draws, and Stanis noted Story Health is thinking about adding at-home infusions to its offerings to expand beyond remote monitoring and into remote therapy.

The company is also currently running a clinical trial to prove out its model; “in specialty care, clinical evidence is paramount,” Stanis said.

That model is designed to empower health systems, Stanis said, to provide more complete care.

“We’re blending healthcare and technology together, and we’re solving problems for patients that are really sick, who have classically been overlooked by the health tech world because they need a very sophisticated system to be able to manage them,” he said.