Please welcome Heartbeat, a preventative care solution for treating heart disease

Meet Heartbeat, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.

HQ: New York City

Founder: Jeffrey Wessler

The problem: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing more people than all cancers combined. However, unlike other fatal illnesses, it’s largely preventable. Traditional cardiology practices treat patients already stricken with the disease, but patients haven’t had an option for preventative care and treatment to stem risk factors before full-blown heart disease takes hold — until now.

Heartbeat’s solution: Heartbeat uses a hybrid digital and clinical approach combining in-person appointments at its two clinics in New York and tech-driven risk assessment and cardiac diagnostics to hone in on patients’ heart problems and determine individualized plans.

Origin story: Launched in New York in 2016, founder Jeff Wessler started Heartbeat with two other Columbia-trained cardiology fellows to offer preventative cardiology for at-risk patients. The health tech company brought on technical team members (engineers and data scientists) in the months that followed to build out its tech tools to produce a fully integrated patient experience.

Why we’re betting on it: Today, patients are diagnosed with heart disease when it’s already too late. People often ignore preliminary symptoms, brushing them off as minor inconveniences, until they become so bad they must seek medical care for what is by then a full-fledged disease. Jeff realized the current health care system wasn’t designed for patients to engage in preventative healthcare at these important first moments. Heartbeat steps in as a solution for these at-risk patients, offering in-person care and tech-driven diagnostics to create a care plan aimed at mitigating risk factors and managing medical conditions.

Our take: The present wave of digital health and an increased focus on patient experience — in particular “outpatient” experience — has signaled a shift in interest to earlier, proactive care. Our view is that Heartbeat’s proactive and high touch approach to cardiology is the best way to curb disease. Consumers are open and excited about engaging with the healthcare system via new patient experiences. As we’ve seen through our investments in companies including Oscar, Doctor on Demand, and even Warby Parker with eye exams, we believe Heartbeat continues to build on that trend.

Further reading: “These young cardiologists are opening tech-infused health clinics all over New York” via CNBC

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