A startup with roots at the University of Chicago wants to help people find and utilize health and wellness resources available to them in their communities.
NowPow is a cloud-based platform that allows users to find health and wellness resources available right in their neighborhoods. Users are referred to specific organizations by a range of professionals in the “caring community,” which includes doctors, nurses, social workers and case workers.
The startup was founded by UChicago gynecologist and NowPow Chief Innovation Officer Stacy Lindau. The idea is that NowPow helps its users do more than access medical attention. Instead, the startup tries to foster “whole person care.” Lindau says NowPow can also be used if people are food insecure, dealing with domestic violence or need to find support groups for a particular illness.
For example, if a user is looking for a cancer support group, they can log on to NowPow’s platform, type in what they are looking for and receive personalized recommendations for groups nearby.
United Way of Metro Chicago signed on as a NowPow client earlier this month to help connect residents in the Austin neighborhood with community resources. Other clients include Advocate Aurora Health, Rush University and NextLevel Health.
“Regardless of socioeconomic status, race or education level, we all want to be able to take care of ourselves to the best of our ability,” Lindau said. “[NowPow] enables people to take the best care of themselves.”
The startup is based on an idea that Lindau and her team pitched to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services several years ago. The project, called CommunityRX, aimed to help doctors digitally recommend nearby community resources to patients.
NowPow, which officially launched in 2015, now operates in nine states and has more than 6 million people in its patient database. The startup employs 70 full-time people in Chicago and has a small office in New York.
NowPow recently hired Cathryn Crookston to be its head of sales. Trained as a clinical nurse, Crookston came to NowPow from Emmi Solutions, a Chicago-based healthcare communications company.
NowPow’s platform is free for patients to use, but some health and wellness organizations pay a licensing fee to use it, depending on their size, Lindau said. Additionally, the startup’s user base and revenue tripled last year.
“What’s next for NowPow is to continue to serve as many people as we can to saturate communities with the knowledge they need,” Lindau said. “We’re going to keep doing that as fast and as hard as we can.”