Health IT Startup: Tonic Health

Sterling Lanier

Tonic was founded by a collaboration of scientists, consumer marketing experts, user interface designers and software programmers to finally solve the crippling challenges of medical data collection, including poor response rates, low patient engagement, high cost and limited ability to personalize care based on a patient’s answers.

So we went out and built a medical data collection platform for clinicians, providers and researchers collecting and using patient information everywhere.

Elevator Pitch

Tonic Health is the world’s best patient data collection platform: fully customizable, super fun and friendly, and accessible anywhere, it solves all the major data collection headaches for hospitals and health systems everywhere.

Product/Service Description

Tonic is the world’s best patient data collection platform: we integrate extreme patient engagement, robust CRM capabilities and real-time predictive analytics to dramatically improve the process of gathering, analyzing and using patient data.

Used by 10 of the Top 15 largest health systems in America, Tonic provides a Disney-like experience to a wide range of data collection needs, including patient intake, patient screening and risk assessments, patient satisfaction, patient-reported outcomes, patient education and much more.

Founder’s Story

Prior to co-founding Tonic, I (Sterling Lanier) founded a company called Chatter (, which is a leading market research firm that works primarily with Fortune 500 brands. During a pro-bono project I was doing for a breast cancer research program at UCSF, I realized the way that most healthcare professionals were collecting and analyzing data was woefully behind the best practices used in the corporate world. Engagement was pitiful, turnaround times were glacial and patient care was suffering.

So I teamed up with my co-founder Boris Glants (who is the technical brains behind our success) and we set out to flip the whole system on its head.

Marketing / Promotion Strategy

Because our platform is a great solution for such a broad range of data collection nightmares across a health system, most of our customers tend to be large healthcare providers (such as Partners HealthCare, the VA, Kaiser Permanente, UCLA, Florida Hospital, UCSF, New York Presbyterian, MedStar Health, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and many more).

We have been fortunate enough to date that most of our demand has been in-bound, meaning that we’ve been able to spend our more limited resources of a startup on world-class developers and engineers rather than sales personnel. That said, as we’ve grown we’ve added sales and support staff to help ensure a great experience for our current customers, and we will soon be making more investments in targeting and servicing our core market of enterprise health systems.

Market Opportunity

Since Tonic Health is used in so many different verticals across a health system, our total market opportunity is really the combination of different individual markets (such as that for Patient Satisfaction, that for Patient Reported Outcomes, that for Population Health Management, etc.). So we tend to look at it by number of potential customers, which for us is about 6,000 hospitals and home health care providers plus the payor community.  Moreover, our market opportunity is about to expand even more with the transition to value-based care, in which preventative health screening and outcome reporting and measurement become even more valuable to a health system (and all of which can be automated seamlessly using Tonic).

We have raised more than $4 million to date, from a range of investors, including Hearst Health Ventures and Royal Street Investment and Innovation Center.

Competitive Differentiator

Our biggest competitor (by far) that we encounter in the marketplace has been pen–and-paper; in other words, the status quo. And Tonic offers everything that this current approach does not, including a fun and friendly user experience, high completion rates, low data error, real-time analytics and clinical decision support, the ability to dynamically serve up personalized content, multiple channels (web, tablet and phone), CRM capabilities that allow you to reach patients anytime and anywhere, and infinite customizability. We also have a few competitors in single use cases (such as patient satisfaction and patient intake), but Tonic usually gets the nod because we can be deployed for a much wider range of purposes across the entire enterprise.

Current Needs

We currently have more than 20 full-time developers and engineers so we are focusing most of our hiring efforts on finding top flights sales and business development professionals for our next stage of growth. We have a great roster of investors (including Hearst Health Ventures) who have been very supportive of our customer-centric approach and leveraging the opportunity in front of us.

Business Model

We generate revenue by selling annual Software-as-a-Service-based licenses to healthcare providers for use of our platform.

Embeddable video:

Our demo video can be found here (with Tonic, seeing is believing):

Year Founded: 2010

Number of employees: 26

Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

Web site:

Product Images:





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