This week’s Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting that Clarity Health Services has raised an additional $4.6 million in capital.  Clarity sponsored our Alaska conference, and it’s CEO Peter Gelpi participated on the health information technology panel.  When we release our Washington agenda, you might expect to see him there as well.

Clarity has adopted an approach that uses technology as a means to build a community among providers in an area, rather than as an end itself.

“Clarity three years ago successfully launched an online service enabling physicians to reduce errors when making patient referrals by helping doctors to exchange exhaustive patient information — including, for instance, insurance coverage, medical history, medications, chart notes, diagnoses, treatments, and lab and imaging results.

Now the company is expanding its service to doctors, hospitals and post-acute care facilities as well as other medical services so they can better track and coordinate patient care.”

$3 million of the funding is coming from Columbia Pacific Advisors, an investment firm run by Dan Baty.

“Baty knows something about hospitals. For the past dozen years, he has helped lead Columbia Asia, the operating arm of Columbia Pacific Advisors, in building upward of 20 hospitals in India, Malaysia and Indonesia. Baty also serves as chairman of Emeritus Corp. , which runs 485 assisted living communities across 44 states.

“Clarity’s platform gives everyone access to help manage the patients needs and care at any level of the health care process,” Baty said.

Baty said Clarity has a great system that is “in the drive path of what is needed in helping manage the total health care delivery system.”

Baty noted that hospitals are not so hot at managing post-acute care, let alone their internal operations. If hospitals fail to incorporate some process to manage their overall risk after the patient leaves the hospital, there’s no way they can avoid major financial pain during the coming years, Baty said.

As for Clarity, he said, its “success will depend on its ability to execute a marketing and sales plan that connects with major health care providers and insurers.” “

The story explains some  of Clarity’s success in Pierce County, which might lead one to think that Seattle would be next.  Not quite.

“Next on the expansion agenda is the rural Spokane area. None there are using Clarity’s service yet, Gelpi said, but five small hospitals have committed to trying it, as well as Deaconess Hospital and the Rockwood Clinic, both in Spokane, and Spokane Valley Hospital.

One of the rural hospitals is 25-bed Lincoln Hospital , in Davenport, west of Spokane in wheat country. Lincoln CEO Tom Martin said Lincoln and four other rural hospitals are in “the development phase” of using Clarity’s service.

Lincoln runs three health clinics staffed by six primary-care doctors and a total of four physician assistants and nurse practitioners. They make patient referrals to specialists practicing in Spokane, Martin said, and Clarity’s “connectivity” service can help them communicate vital patient information back and forth.

“We’re looking for specialists, partners willing to adopt it at their end,” Martin said. “And we’re talking to large hospitals in Spokane to track patients from (outside the) community who are admitted there by specialists or who are transferred there from our hospitals.””