The Medigital founding team from left: Maximilian Radensleben, Paul Pohlmann, Tobias Kirstein and Maximilian Schnettler
Picture: Medigital

Medigital: Automated capacity management for hospitals

How can patient flows in hospitals be managed more efficiently? This is the challenge faced by Medigital, which was founded in 2022 by Maximilian Radensleben, Paul Pohlmann, Tobias Kirstein and Maximilian Schnettler. In this interview, the founders talk not only about their solution, but also about the challenges they have already had to overcome in their still young company history.

Munich Startup: What does your startup do? What problem do you solve?

Medigital: We are Medigital and automate capacity management in hospitals. Our first finished module is occupancy management, which fully automates the planning of patient stays in the hospital. This step is crucial in the efficient use of hospital capacity, as it not only depends on the available diagnosis and treatment options, but also triggers a variety of administrative processes, such as patient transport, billing and discharge.

While the diagnosis and treatment of patients are already significantly influenced by new technologies such as artificial intelligence, administrative processes and their execution have hardly been modernized in the last two decades. As a result, a significant portion of clinicians’ time must be spent on these tasks, often resulting in valuable time lost to direct patient care. We are changing that!

Time savings and less coordination effort

At the core of our software is a sophisticated AI-powered algorithm that automatically plans the required capacity for each patient stay and intelligently balances it between wards to optimize hospital utilization without overburdening staff. In our occupancy management module, for example, the algorithm handles the automatic assignment of patients to the appropriate beds based on patient master data. In addition, the algorithm can move patients across wards, saving significant time for doctors and nurses by reducing coordination efforts. Our user interface keeps the staff concerned up to date at ward level and also at hospital level.

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Medigital: Unfortunately, the reality in hospitals often does not correspond to what is technologically possible. It is not uncommon for patients in hospitals to still be planned with pen and paper. There are also improvised solutions such as whiteboards and Excel spreadsheets. Even modern hospital information systems (HIS) often offer only simple occupancy lists. There, it happens that these lists have to be printed out, updated manually and re-entered into the system at the end of the day.

In the area of asset management, we are currently seeing solutions that can track not only equipment but also beds in real time to indicate whether they are currently free or occupied. Similarly, there are communication solutions for physicians and nurses that offer an occupancy list as a byproduct. Both approaches are undoubtedly valuable, but they often lack the comprehensive patient stay planning component and strategic foresight. They complement our capacity management perfectly because together they provide a comprehensive solution that not only shows current status, but also anticipates future capacity needs. So our innovation lies not only in the technology itself, but also in the holistic approach to the problem of capacity management in hospitals.

Munich Startup: What’s your founding story?

Medigital: Our founding story at Medigital is closely linked to our time together at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Max, Paul and I, we have known each other since our student days at TUM. During that time, we participated together in UnternehmerTUM’s TechChallenge, a program in which companies present their real-world problems as corporate partners and students have the task of developing prototype solutions within three months.

During this intensive phase, we visited countless hospitals and had intensive discussions with doctors and nurses. We saw firsthand how chaotic and inefficient many processes are in these facilities. These observations spurred us to develop a solution that would help address these problems and make everyday healthcare more efficient.

At the end of these three months, we were able to take first place in the TechChallenge with our prototypes. For us, that was the starting point for the next step. We applied for the Xplore Pre-Incubation Program of UnternehmerTUM, where we met our fourth co-founder, Max Schnettler. As a team of four founders, we managed to first receive the EXIST Founders Grant and then successfully complete our first round of funding. This initial phase was crucial for us and laid the foundation for the development of Medigital.

Challenge: Long sales cycles in healthcare

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Medigital: One of our most significant challenges was and still is the extraordinarily long sales cycles in the healthcare sector. Several months often pass from the first contact to concrete discussions. However, we are currently at a point where we have increased our professionalism to deal with these long cycles. At the same time, we are reaping the rewards of our efforts to date, as hospitals are increasingly approaching us.

Another challenge was to raise awareness among physicians and nurses of the advantages of a digital and, above all, automated variant of occupancy management. In the beginning, many users felt that using our solution was an additional stress and effort. However, we were quickly able to demonstrate how efficient and time-saving our solution really is. After a short time, the users were so convinced that they completely replaced their previous solutions with ours.

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, where in five years?

Medigital: We have ambitious plans for the coming year. Through a planned funding round in April 2024, we will successfully develop our first module, “Occupancy Management”, convert our pilot customers into long-term customer relationships, and attract additional hospitals to our solution. The funds from this financing round will also help expand our team capacity to develop additional modules and advance our vision to automate the entire hospital capacity management process.

Vision: Plan patient flow seamlessly

Looking five years into the future, we see our product as an essential addition to the hospital software landscape. Our solution will make it possible to seamlessly plan the entire patient flow and optimize resources, whether for admission, diagnosis, treatment, discharge or staff, in real time. In doing so, we strive to not only increase efficiency, but also improve the quality of patient care.

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far?

Medigital: Munich has proven to be extremely conducive to us as a startup location. In fact, you could say that we are in some ways a product of UnternehmerTUM, as we have taken advantage of almost every one of its programs and networking opportunities. Currently, we are a proud participant of Xpreneurs Batch 14 and have been a permanent part of TUM’s VentureLabs Healthcare for almost two years.

However, Munich offers even more. The city is home to two outstanding universities, which are an excellent source of highly qualified talent. The numerous networking events and pitching events have allowed us to get to know many other startups. This exchange is invaluable as we can benefit from the experiences of other founders. We learn from the challenges other startups have already overcome and grow together on the new ones we still have to face.

Munich is also an emerging center for digital health and the digitization of the healthcare sector. Initiatives such as Venture Lab Healthcare and events such as Bits & Bretzls HealthTech offer increasingly better support and resources for startups in this area. There is a wide range of support available here, especially in the early-stage sector.

The impressive statistics and rich network integrated us strongly into the Munich ecosystem even before we were founded and helped us successfully launch Medigital.

Munich Startup: Hidden Champion or Shooting Star?

Medigital: Our focus on the B2B market and our specialization on hospitals make us a hidden champion by definition. But if all the modules we want to develop work together seamlessly and are successfully implemented in hospital operations, we undoubtedly have the potential to become a shooting star – at least in the healthcare industry. The potential impact would be enormous and would also be felt by patients. Not only would many administrative tasks in the hospital be eliminated, but capacity could be optimized to treat more patients while reducing workloads.