- Associated Press - Saturday, February 15, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The municipality’s 49th State Angel Fund thinks it has a winning investment in a medical industry tech startup called Call Dr.

By the end of 2013, the city-run “angel fund” had disbursed two investments, totalling $200,000, into the fledgling company. Angel funds, also known as venture capital funds, are groups that make high-risk investments into budding businesses, often in exchange for ownership. Because Anchorage lacked a private-party angel, the city created its own after making a successful pitch that brought the municipality $13.2 million under the federal Small Business Jobs Act.

The city’s investment has allowed Call Dr., a medical management software company, to hire seven new employees in Anchorage since April 2013, plus a handful of contractors elsewhere in the country, according to Call Dr. co-founder Kevin Halvorson.

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At Alaska Regional Hospital, Halvorson and a handful of Call Dr. employees were on hand on Jan. 30 to introduce hospital workers to their software.

Call Dr. has two key products. One is a software system designed to streamline how on-call doctors manage their shifts. The other allows on-call specialists to offer their medical expertise remotely using an iPhone.

“We basically turned the Apple iPhone into a multimedia pager that not only notifies a doctor but sends a mini-medical record when a patient comes in,” Halvorson explains.

Like many startups, the firm also has big visions of where this technology could take them in the future.

Emergency room physician Bruce Welkovich said switching to a digital system like Call Dr. has long been in the hospital’s stars. As it stands now, most on-call scheduling is done through phone calls and faxes (yes, faxes) between the city’s two main public hospitals. Bringing that system into the 21st century is a positive thing, Welkovich said.

And Welkovich sees the potential for the Call Dr.’s rapid consultation service.

Welkovich describes a hypothetical scenario: A patient comes into the ER with leg pain. A doctor notices one leg is a different color than the other and suspects a blood clot. That doctor could use Call Dr. to send a photo of the patient’s leg to an on-call vascular surgeon, who would immediately decide whether to come in or schedule an appointment during regular hours.

Maybe the most important aspect of Call Dr. is that it is HIPAA-compliant (meaning that it guarantees patient confidentiality), Welkovich said.

While Halvorson brought entrepreneurial and tech experience to the firm, Call Dr.’s two additional founding partners are from the medical world.

One stipulation of the Angel Fund’s investment in Call Dr. was that any city money must be matched by investment from the private sector.

Most of Call Dr.’s private investors are doctors, kicking in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $120,000 in exchange for a slice of ownership.

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