Nathan Pelzer became fascinated by health care when he was a child, riding along as his mother, a home-care nurse, took blood pressure readings and checked medications for patients in their community who often had few resources. Those memories stayed in the background through business school and stints in consulting and investment banking.

Then he decided to look at health care through his professional lens, and what he saw wasn’t pretty. He found that the technology that was being used and the way that care was paid for “were out of whack.”

“It was a really growing area that no one was trying to fix in a comprehensive way,” said Pelzer, the cofounder and CEO of Clinify Health, a largely digital company that occupies a space between payers and providers for underserved populations. The Chicago-based company works with value-based contracts, which link providers’ revenue to their patients’ health outcomes. Its platform incorporates information about social factors like income and neighborhood conditions into patient profiles. That enables doctors to understand the lives of and work more effectively with patients likely to skip appointments or skimp on their medicines, which can lead to an expensive visit to the emergency department.

And it is the first company to benefit from a new approach for the California Health Care Foundation’s 10-year-old Innovation Fund: investing in more companies, investing in them earlier, and prioritizing enterprises with founders who are women and people of color.

The foundation invested $125,000 in Clinify Health, part of a $3.1 million seed round with other investors that was announced in August. That money was crucial, said Pelzer, who cofounded the company in 2019 with Clinify Health chief technology officer Eric Peebles.

Read more on California Health Care Foundation.



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