Care+Wear, a startup that’s developed a range of clothing items to improve the quality of life for people with ports and PICC lines, or peripherally inserted central catheter, to deliver medications and nutrients, emerged as the winning startup for the Pitch Perfect competition at the MedCity ENGAGE conference this week.
The judges for the competition included John Mattison, a Chief Medical Information Officer and Assistant Medical Director with Kaiser Permanente, Derek Newell, Castlight Health president, and Iana Dimkova of GE Ventures.
Newell noted that of the eight healthcare startups that took part in the event, most of the debate centered on Care+Wear and Twistle, which was recognized as a runner up.
Twistle sends timely automated alerts to patients to prepare them for surgery such as halting certain medications that are integrated into their electronic medical record. It also sends post-surgery follow-up messages regarding their recovery. The goal is to reduce readmissions.
“Care+Wear was super capital efficient with hospitals buying their product,” Newell said.
Care+Wear developed antimicrobial protective covers and shirts with the help of nurses at Johns Hopkins and University of Virginia, according to TJ Connolly, the vice president for hospital relationships and sales at Care+Wear, in an interview at the conference.
The motivation for the New York-based company’s start in 2014 wasn’t unique for healthcare entrepreneurs — founders Chaitenya Razdan and Susan Jones wanted to improve the patient experience by making protective sleeves look less like a medical device and more like fashion, making these individuals feel less self-conscious and improving their quality of life without undermining their medical needs. That led to a line of Port friendly shirts for men, women and children. It also has preemie outfits for use in Neonatal Intensive Care Units and mastectomy bras in development.
The company’s revenue model involves selling its products directly to consumers through its website and to hospitals and Group Purchasing Organizations at wholesale prices. It also works with foundation partners. Although it is currently in the U.S. and UK markets, Connolly said it plans to expand to Canada soon.
“We’re shaking up an industry with better versions of products for patients,” Connolly said. “We cater to pediatrics and adult care. When we look at developing new products, we want to figure out how to help as many patients as possible.”
Photo: Jill Fleming Photography
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