ModRN Health is injecting life into a decaying healthcare system through holistic approaches, said CaRessa Hutchinson.
“[Patients practically need] a medical degree to be able to navigate the healthcare system. It’s ridiculous,” said Hutchinson, co-founder of the Overland Park-based healthcare platform dedicated to ‘filling in the gaps” for patients. “People are just so overwhelmed and beat down by the system. I think people are just lost and really need our help.”
The web-based platform allows patients to have access to a team of dedicated, specialized nurses and resource partners all powered by compassion, she said, noting the help of a data-driven software service that allows for coordinated care across multiple providers and tracking of a patient’s condition.
Founders: CaRessa Hutchinson, Dr. Scott Roethle
Founding year: 2015
Amount raised to date: $120,000
Programs completed: Pitch Perfect at the Enterprise Center of Johnson County, Startup Grind Global Conference
Employee Count: 5
“Once you build a relationship with a patient, you can really break down those barriers and people can really share those roadblocks with you so you can actually help them with real problems,” she added.
Throughout a seven-year career as a registered pediatric nurse Hutchinson experienced firsthand the struggles patients have to go through entirely unaided by inadequate care, she added, noting the intense journey led to various stages of burnout.
“I started handing out my number to a lot of people, basically helping them on the side for free. I was doing care coordination and connecting them to resources,” Hutchinson said. “I had about 40 people I was helping for free because none of them could have afforded hundreds of dollars for my service, but that’s really how the business model needed look to support that. I was trying to find a way to scale it so I could get it to the people I was really trying to help.”
A startup built for startups
A happy medium arose with a membership model reflecting a $35 a month payment while a chance meeting with a local business owner revealed startups might be let down by the current system as well.
“This guy started a company from the ground up, he built into a successful company, he cares about his employees — then to tell him that the only insurance options [he can give his employees] are going to increase their premiums, but not what they do? It’s bullcrap,” said Hutchinson. “That conversation really opened my eyes to how frustrated [entrepreneurs] were feeling too.”
“I just a had a light bulb moment — his employees are my patients when they’re not with him,” she continued. “There are employers out there that care about the well-being of their people and maybe if we worked together, we could flip the system a little bit.”
ModRN Health is currently partnered with 10 startups and resource organizations to date — the most recent partnership being KC-based SaRA Health — to better service employees and patients across the metro with a bank of referrals from dentists to nutritionists, she added.
“There are other options out there like there might be some holistic options or better things that would be better for you and your family, but you just don’t know,” Hutchinson said.
“This nurse is really your partner,” she continued. “She can be a part of everything from [illness] prevention to your lifestyle, to your emotional capabilities. We just to be the resource hub where you can find access to whatever you need to make the best decision and not just feel so overwhelmed like most people do.”
After only two weeks in operation, the platform already holds two full-time nurses, each able to take on about 500 patients with a pool of 200 potential hires to pull from in next couple of months as changes are made to the backend of the platform, she added.
“We literally just started selling,” Hutchinson laughed. “Now that we’re actually trying now, we have well over $4 million in annual recurring revenue in our pipeline. It seems that people are going to be moving through the pipeline fairly quickly.”
With burnout in nursing so common, finding licensed healthcare professionals ready for a change in leadership took just a few announcements in the right places, said Hutchinson.
“When I reach out and tell them, ‘Hey, you could actually be an advocate, actually care about your patient, actually have that relationship with them again, and be what you thought you were going to get to be when you went to nursing school…’ It’s crazy how excited they are,” she said.
“They loved nursing. It was just too high of a cost for them personally.”
All in on Kansas City
Moving to Kansas City from her hometown in Wichita took a sign in the form a well-chosen Airbnb, said Hutchinson.
“It was hard to be taken seriously in that first year,” she said. “I had to fight through all of that and I told my husband, ‘If we’re going to do it, we’re going to have to jump all in and I don’t think we’re going to be able to do it here.’ So, I grabbed an Airbnb [in Kansas City] for three days and I made sure the [owner] was an entrepreneur.”
“I pitched to him the whole three days,” she laughed.
The owner ended up giving the couple an apartment on the Country Club Plaza for low rent for the first six months, Hutchinson said.
“I called home and said, ‘I think we have a sign,’” she said. “My husband found a job [in Kansas City] pretty quickly after that within days. We moved our kids from the house they’ve been in their whole life pretty much.”
Though the initial move took some adjustment, the three teenagers quickly became helpful assistants in visiting long-time patients of Hutchinson and understood the need for the change, she added.
“They would hear how upset I would be when coming from the hospital — like I was on the wrong side almost — so I think teaching them is one thing, but showing them is saying that this is how we stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves,” Hutchinson said. “It’s one thing to say you’ll sacrifice [things] to help other people, but we’re really going to do it.”
The entrepreneurial mindset seems to have been inherited, she added, with pride.
“I don’t think they necessarily want to be in healthcare, but when they talk about the future — they want to change it,” Hutchinson said.