Health Gorilla wants to be the Slack for healthcare

Any time a startup says it wants to be the "x" of "y," a kitten dies (well, not really). Latest example, Health Gorilla who wants to be the Slack for Healthcare.

The technology startup industry is full of companies declaring that they are the equivalent of [insert hyper-successful company] but for another segment. I must get a pitch a day from a company telling me that they're "the Uber of farming," "the AirBnB of pharmaceuticals" or the "Netflix of particle acceleration." Often these claims are little more than an attempt to position an average startup as being something heroic and massively important.

The latest example of this comes from a company that is just launching what it suggests will be the "Slack of Healthcare." For those not aware, Slack is an incredibly successful tool that is built around collaboration. Think of a Twitter-like tool that can be used with private groups and you get the drift. Slack is something of an outlier -- it has come from nowhere to capture massive numbers of users and a commensurately massive valuation. But along with that valuation goes a raft of companies wanting to leverage some of that massive-ness for their own gains.

Health Gorilla is a platform that aims to connect doctors, vendors and patients in a secure loop for information and communications. Health Gorilla automates lab results, referrals and test results for physicians and medical facilities, which provides better communication between all parties involved, and leads to better communication and an overall healthier population. Health Gorilla's main claim to healthcare fame is that it is HIPAA compliant and MU2-certified, therefore, available to the highly regulated health industry.

The company is today announcing the closing of a $2.4 million funding round, bringing funding to date to $4.4 million. Data Collective led the round with backing from True Ventures, Harris Barton, Orfin Ventures and Venture Investment Associates. So, what is it, beyond collaboration, that Health Gorilla is offering? The company says that it solves three major problems for healthcare:

  • Electronic ordering: Health Gorilla delivered a secure platform in 2014 to automate the 10B+ diagnostic tests ordered each year, which account for more than 70 percent of medical decisions. Thousands of doctors now interact online with over 9,000 diagnostic labs and 35,000 radiology centers, as well as sleep clinics, physical therapy centers, nursing homes and more. The Clinical Network extends this automation to referrals and test results to further streamline workflow, reduce waste, and improve communications -- not only between medical professionals but consumers as well.
  • Complete health history: Health Gorilla allows consumers to claim their health records in 10 minutes or less, creating a comprehensive health history that they can access as well as share with others.
  • Shared communications: Health Gorilla allows sharing of records, test results, and other information across the “care circle” -- that is, approved individuals involved in a person’s health, whether it be medical professionals, labs, or family members.


Health Gorilla actually looks really cool. Healthcare is obviously ripe for a big dose of efficiency-gain and enabling good collaboration is one way of achieving some of those efficiencies. The fact that it is HIPAA compliant and hence can be rolled out across healthcare providers ticks a major box that prospective customers will have. This is an excellent opportunity from a company that seems to be really solving health industry issues.

I don't, however, really like their "Slack for healthcare" message. Gorilla Health is far more than that, it also demeans themselves somewhat -- Slack is a broad platform tool that lacks the depth and certifications to come close to being a viable healthcare offering, so there is really no need to refer to Slack in their messaging at all. Health Gorilla is really cool, and fulfilling a very important role, they don't need to go anywhere beyond that.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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