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Startup that uses headsets to enhance rural health raises money for virtual care


Hippo’s platform enables caregivers to connect with a specialist through a headset that livestreams the encounter. (Hippo Photo)

Hippo Technologies is a Vancouver-based startup that develops tech to link rural patients with specialists. Ochsner Health provided seed financing for Hippo Technologies. Ochsner Health is a major New Orleans health system.

Although the amount of the funds was not disclosed by the companies, it brings Hippo’s total investment to $3.7million, according to a spokesperson. Previous investors include members of Hippo’s executive team and other individual backers.

Patrick Quinlan
Hippo CEO Patrick Quinlan. (Hippo Photo)

Hippo’s platform links up software to support virtual care and telemedicine workflows with a headset worn by a clinician.

Hands-onfreeTo live-stream patients to specialist at hospitals, you can use voice-activated headphones at the point in care.

Hippo will collaborate with Ocshner to connect specialists with providers and patients in isolated areas of Ochsner’s network, which serves Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South. In the beginning, neurology will be the focus.

The partnership is “bringing the specialist and care team to the patient wherever they are,” said CEO Patrick Quinlan in a statement Wednesday announcing the deal. Quinlan was formerly the CEO at Ochsner and co-founded Hippo 2020.

Wale Sulaiman is a neurosurgeon who was previously the chief medical officer at Tulane University. He also served as a professor in clinical neurosurgery and was previously the medical director for Ochsner’s back and spine center. Corporate attorney Craig Williams and Brian Hamilton are co-founders of Vancouver-based RealWear. This assisted reality wearable startup raised $23.5 Million.

Hippo Virtual Care device Diakonhjemmet Hospital Norway 1
An Hippo headset worn by a doctor. (Hippo Photo)

RealWear manufactures Hippo’s specialized headset and Hippo develops the software, which is also compatible with other head-mounted displays and smart glasses. Hippo charges a hardware installation fee and a monthly license fee that is based on the amount of usage.

Hamilton was a medical professional from his family and developed the headset in Nigeria for patients. This collaboration led to the creation of the company.

A CNN 2019 story recounts that Sulaiman is Nigerian and was raised in Nigeria. He has a long-standing commitment to the provision of medical care in Nigeria. Sulaiman is the CEO and founder of RNZ Global, a medical management and services company that operates in sub-Saharan Africa and uses Hippo’s platform.

Hippo is also being used for medical education by Barry University and other customers. The Hippo was first deployed to hospitals in China during the pandemic. Now, dialysis clinics throughout Guatemala are using it.

The startup has 10 employees, including chief technology officer Ivan Lumala, who served as chief technology officer of Microsoft 4Afrika, the tech giant’s effort to grow its business on the continent by fostering local innovation.

Hippo claims it is different from all other virtual healthcare companies because of its team-based clinical workflow, which allows multiple doctors to collaborate on one patient case.

The acronym Hippo stands for Hippocratic Oath. It is an acronym that stands for health integrity, people and purpose.

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