TouchMD, a Southern Utah startup, is solving a problem that exists within doctor and patient relationships.
Wait times at doctors’ offices can be frustrating and long with nothing but an outdated magazine to read. When the patient finally meets with the doctor, she may feel rushed, and often leave with unanswered questions. The doctor-patient relationship suffers. TouchMD is becoming a global player in the medical industry by improving these relationships as well as medical outcomes through an innovative use of technology.
The product is TouchMD, a multitouch patienteducation software that utilizes touch-screen technology to improve a doctor’s ability to explain conditions and procedures. The complete TouchMD system allows doctors to educate patients visually throughout the consultation using photos and videos on a large touch screen. The doctor can even take a picture of the patient and display the results. Once a patient leaves the office, she can access the information at home via a laptop, iPad or other device, allowing her to research and review a procedure and share information with family members.
“As medicine progresses, patients want to be more educated and understand more about the care that is provided to them,” says Matthew Marriott, CCO and cofounder of TouchMD. “Our system helps doctors and patients communicate more clearly.”
Although the company had sound founding principles and a strong concept to begin with, a Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative’s Technology Commercialization Grant (now called USTAR’s Go-to- Market grants) helped it succeed. The grants focus on helping Utah’s high-potential technology companies perform customer and product validation activities before initiating equity fundraising or sales efforts.
“TouchMD had a technology driven solution that is vitally needed,” says Jill Elliss, USTAR Southern Utah Technology Outreach Innovation Program director. “Working through the grant program, USTAR helped facilitate its product development. It provided the opportunity for a startup from Cedar City to become a global player in the medical industry.”
Within the next year, the company is expanding its horizons outside of plastic surgery to include other medical fields including OBGYN, dermatology and orthopedic medical practices. Currently 500 doctors in 10 countries are using TouchMD. The company is now working to open its first office in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
While the company’s plans for future growth are becoming a reality, TouchMD continues to receive positive feedback from the physicians who helped develop it and also from physicians who are currently using the software in their offices.
“TouchMD depends on client and doctors’ input to shape the future of our product. This is imperative for our growth,” Marriott says. “It was imperative that TouchMD involve physicians in the development of the content and delivery of the technology. TouchMD identified physicians who are pioneers in their specialties and invited them to become consultants and partners with TouchMD. The company is literally built by doctors for doctors.”