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A Healthy Message - iPLATO raises First round Funding from The Capital Fund

iPLATO Ltd, the leader in mobile healthcare applications, has attracted first round funding from The Capital Fund, a £50 million venture capital fund that invests in fast-growth companies in Greater London and whose investors include the DTI and The European Investment Fund. iPLATO’s flagship product -Patient Care Messaging - uses mobile phone technologies to enable GP surgeries and hospitals to communicate by text message with their patients. As a result of the investment, Phil Sissons, former Industry Liaison at the National Programme for IT, joins iPLATO as a non-executive director.

Operational in 15 NHS Trusts today, including dozens of GP surgeries and hospitals across London, Patient Care Messaging enables healthcare staff to set up automatic text reminders of scheduled appointments. The system also offers sophisticated tools so that staff can design and run text campaigns encouraging patients to attend specific clinics for flu jabs or other vaccinations, and participate in health programmes in areas such as smoking cessation, screening services and long term conditions such as asthma and diabetes.

Tobias Alpsten, founder and Managing Director of iPLATO, said: “We have developed our text messaging services in close consultation with the NHS, with the dual aims of improving patient care and increasing efficiency. As a healthcare specific service, we offer our NHS partners a truly unique platform in terms of functionality, scalability and security. Furthermore, there is no additional administrative burden for healthcare staff as the service is completely automated as a result of being directly integrated to existing Patient Administration Systems.”

iPLATO’s service has been proven to reduce patient no-shows by up to 40% which translates to a yearly saving opportunity in excess of £500,000 for the average Primary Care Trust. Patients have rapidly taken to the service as it offers timely, relevant, personalised and discreet reminders and content. The service also reaches out to the young, minorities and the socially disadvantaged as mobile text messaging is sometimes the only channel available for communicating with large patient groups that often do not respond to letters or phone calls. Text replies from patients are converted into emails which are automatically directed to the relevant doctor or nurse.

Mr Alpsten continued: “We are delighted by the increasing take-up rate amongst hospitals and surgeries in the UK with the number of installations doubling in the first quarter of 2006 and set to double again in the second quarter. Add to that the enormous interest that we have received from healthcare organisations in over a dozen countries and we can see that there is global potential for this technology.”

Tobias Alpsten commented on the fundraising process: “We are pleased that The Capital Fund has decided to invest in iPLATO. This first fundraising exercise was a refreshing experience as the Fund has straightforward, systematic processes that make life easier for entrepreneurs”.

The Capital Fund’s Investment Manager, Stuart Nicol, said: “iPLATO has developed an innovative and practical service that has the potential to benefit patient care by improving communications between healthcare professionals and patients. The Company has already proved that it can help the NHS to generate substantial cost savings by reducing ‘did not attend’ rates and its services offer significant additional benefits in the public healthcare campaign arena. We were pleased to back the management team’s plans to extend their services to more Trusts and to develop additional services. With an operational service in the Middle East and the imminent launch of the service in Germany the iPLATO team have demonstrated the global potential of this technology.”

A patient receives a texts appointment reminder message sent by healthcare staff using iPLATO’s innovative healthcare messaging servi

Publisher Contact Information:

The Capital Fund
+44 (0)1865 811199

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