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November 27, 2023 | Tom Ballard

CometMD addressing healthcare challenges facing underserved communities

It's solution employs a tablet-based system that is pre-coupled with auxiliary equipment like blood pressure cuffs and pulse oximeters.

Access to quality, affordable healthcare is a priority for everyone, but that is a particular challenge in underserved communities. The reasons vary such as lack of healthcare professionals in rural areas or individuals who are discharged from a hospital but will need regular monitoring for a period of time.

That’s where a Knoxville-based start-up is finding its niche through the use of technology to connect patients to primarily Nurse Practitioners who, like the patients they are seeing, are also in their homes.

The company, named CometMD, was founded in 2018 by David Kiger who was a Co-Founder of an in-home senior care company. Rob Coffey joined as President and Chief Executive Officer in July of 2021 and is methodically growing the company.

“We’re the only total RPM (remote patient monitoring) and telehealth solution providing the type of care patients deserve,” he says.

How does CometMD provide those services?

It employs a tablet-based system that is pre-coupled with auxiliary equipment like blood pressure cuffs and pulse oximeters. The user interface of this system is designed for those who are not at all “tech-savvy” to ensure ease of use. As the patient takes the readings, they are auto uploaded to the CometMD platform via either a Wi-Fi or built-in cellular option. CometMD’s healthcare practitioner reviews the data and, if warranted, can schedule a telehealth visit using the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant audio/video capability that is built into the tablet.

“Our system is designed to capture healthcare concerns before they happen,” Coffey says. “The Comet MD solution will flag and notify healthcare providers of abnormal readings automatically and provide data for better healthcare decision making.”

The CometMD technical team offers full remote technical support and mobile device management. In addition, someone from the team will enroll and train all patients on the system.

In addition to the RPM/Telehealth solution, Comet MD also offers stand-alone telehealth care plans that are aimed at providing care for those not interested in or qualifying for traditional health care. Coffey says that the company offers three options for these services. The first is a one-time visit for those who do not have underlying issues and instead have something that is not serious. There’s a monthly plan for individuals or families. Finally, for businesses that want to provide some coverage for employees without the high cost of traditional insurance, CometMD offers  small business care plans for as low as $9.00 a month per employee based on size of the organization.

“That ensures less downtime for employers and a way to help with employee recruitment and retention,” Coffey says.

CometMD services are focused on common issues like coughs, colds, flu and strep throat; infections; minor aches and pains; migraines; and sprains and strains. The company does not provide care for emergency situations like broken bones, significant bleeding, heart attack, and suicidal thinking. It also does not prescribe medications that are Drug Enforcement Agency-controlled.

For now, Coffey is focused on the Knoxville area market. “Expansion is a matter of market penetration,” he says, and that requires additional investment.

Coffey moved to the region in 2008 to serve as Sales and Marketing Manager for Ed MacFawn at BiT Dealership Software.

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