@Health2Con: Digital health incubators, academies, kitchens

By: Brian Dolan | May 17, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsOne of the more entertaining panels at this week’s Health 2.0 Spring Fling event here in Boston was the panel on digital health incubators. While the lineup did not include a rep from Rock Health as originally advertised, the panel did include founders from a handful of other increasingly high-profile organizations. Only two of them self-identify as “incubators”, however. One is more like an academy. The other? A collective, or a “kitchen”.

Here’s how each of the four founders described their organizations on-stage at Health 2.0:

Steve Krein, StartUp Health: “StartUp Health is an academy for health and wellness entrepreneurs. We use the term academy specifically because we provide a longterm program for the life of the entrepreneur’s startup. What we have learned — being entrepreneurs ourselves — is that the real work begins after you get customers and after you get funding. Our focus was to design a program and curriculum around peer groups that would travel together over a three to four year program with nine other entrepreneurs. They meet quarterly in live sessions throughout the country. We had our first session in New York. We are going to Washington DC in a couple of weeks to meet at the White House, actually. We will be heading to San Francisco, too. These quarterly programs are supplemented each month with programs on the web where our entrepreneurs can collaborate via an online toolbox.”

“Our goal is to help entrepreneurs connect with customers, talent, board members, investors. At each stage we are there to support that. We work really well with incubator and accelerator programs — we partner with almost all of them. So, once you graduate from a 12-week incubator program, StartUp Health is the graduate program you go to. The idea is to provide that continuum of support. We have had over 600 applications come in and our application process is on a rolling basis. We will launch four classes this year and between five and 10 more next year. Since it is a longterm program, we will have 150 to 200 entrepreneurs in the health and wellness space at the same time. Entrepreneurs typically enter StartUp Health once they get beyond the idea phase — in fact, nine our of 10 entrepreneurs in the first class were already funded. Together they had raised about $24 million dollars. Between them they have more than 58 employees. Our entrepreneurs include five serial entrepreneurs, two doctors, and two clinicians. So, these are seasoned entrepreneurs in most cases.” Keep reading>>

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Survey: 7 percent of Health 2.0 companies have exited

By: Brian Dolan | May 17, 2012        

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SurveyAt the Health 2.0 Spring Fling conference in Boston this week, Health 2.0 co-founders Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya shared some preliminary data points from a survey they conducted with companies that have demoed or participated in a Health 2.0 event since the first one in 2007. All told more than 360 companies have been on-stage at Health 2.0 events, and while that figure includes a mix of companies at different stages of maturity, they have all been relatively young companies. The survey data that Holt and Subaiya shared included responses from 132 of those Health 2.0 companies.

Of that group, about 7 percent have made a “successful exit” — meaning they were acquired (the case for nearly all) or they went public (maybe one or two?) Some 48 percent of the companies have experienced “rapid growth”; 40 percent have experienced “incremental growth”; and just 5 percent have folded, according to the survey.

About 95 percent of companies that responded to the survey said they had customers. The most popular answer for customer type was consumers, then hospitals, physician practices, insurers, and finally employers.

For business models, about 17 percent relied on advertising, some 37 percent brought in subscription revenues, 27 percent charged per transaction, and 19 percent focused on licensing fees. Keep reading>>

Simplee, a Mint.com for health expenses, snags $6 million

By: Brian Dolan | May 16, 2012        

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SimpleeSimplee, which helps consumers track, review, and pay medical claims and bills online, announced this week a $6 million first round of funding led by The Social+Capital Partnership and with participation from existing investor Greylock Partners. Greylock and a handful of Israel-based angels contributed to Simplee’s $1.5 million seed round of funding, according to TechCrunch.

Since the company launched in 2011 it says it has helped its members manage some $500 million in medical expenses. About 65 percent of its members return to Simplee on a regular basis, according to the company. The average Simplee member that uses its online bill payment feature spends more than $1,000 annually through the platform, (which is an interesting figure since the company is just one year old). The company also states that it currently covers about 80 percent of the insurers in the US market.

What’s next? Simplee plans to announce a stable of business partners that include employers, HSA banks, and FSA/HRA administrators. The company will also use the funds to develop a mobile app. In the next few weeks the company will rollout a feature that alerts consumers to billing errors.

For more read the post over at TechCrunch or the press release below: Keep reading>>

Mayo Clinic’s first free patient app offers medical record access

By: Brian Dolan | May 16, 2012        

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Mayo Clinic Patient iPad appThe Mayo Clinic offered up its first free mobile app for patients this week, according to a report over at MedCity News. While Mayo has more than a dozen apps in Apple’s AppStore for both the iPhone and the iPad, MedCity points out that none of those were free patient-facing apps — until now.

The app, called Patient, went live on Monday and is free to download for anyone, but the real meat of it is only accessible by patients who have a Mayo Clinic patient online services account number. Patients who log in get access to their medical record, lab results, appointment schedule, and more. The app also includes a feature that enables patients to request an appointment, refill prescriptions, get health recommendations, and notifications and alerts about “important information”. The app also enables secure messaging between patients and their care team.

The publicly available features include information about navigating the Mayo Clinic campus and the surrounding areas, news and videos about the Mayo Clinic, and more.

Mayo Clinic’s associate dean of e-health and medical director of Institutional Business Solutions Dr. Sidna Tulledge-Scheitel told MedCity News that the app intends to help the healthcare provider connect with prospective patients, first time patients, and existing patients. Dr. Tulledge-Scheitel said that patients can use the app after a visit to the Mayo Clinic to view notes about what the doctor said during their appointment. (Sounds like Mayo paid attention to the 2010 OpenNotes study.)

An Android version of Mayo’s Patient app is in the works.

Check out this video about the app over Mayo’s news blog.
More details in MedCity News’ interview with Dr. Tulledge-Scheitel.

Proteus raises $17.5M to commercialize its “intelligent medicine” platform

By: Brian Dolan | May 16, 2012        

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Proteus Biomedical's Raisin system, which Helius is based on.

Proteus Biomedical's Raisin system

Proteus Biomedical raised about $17.5 million in a round of funding it hopes will eventually top $50 million, according to a regulatory filing. The Redwood, California-based company developed an “intelligent medicine” suite of technology called Raisin, which includes, an ingestible biomedical sensor, a wearable, peel-and-stick patch, and a companion smartphone app. The technology has been piloted by Novartis, the UK’s NHS, a clinic in New York, and other less public partners. A pharmacy chain in the UK was the first to rollout a service offering with components of the Raisin platform earlier this year.

It has been a few years since Proteus raised money.

In 2010 the company announced that Novartis had invested $24 million in the company as part of an exclusive deal that leveraged Proteus ingestible technology with patients taking organ transplantation medications. While Novartis mentioned plans soon after to help push regulatory clearance along for the technology, nothing more has come out about the partnership.

Shortly before that at the end of 2009 Proteus quietly raised about $25 million in funding. Keep reading>>

Does IBM’s new patent spell trouble for health apps?

By: Brian Dolan | May 15, 2012        

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BodyMedia Fit ArmbandAbout 12 years ago engineers at IBM began to sketch out an idea for a weight loss application that rewarded employees for eating healthy food, according to a recent report in the New York Times. The article follows the story of the patent IBM secured late last year for this long-awaited healthy eating rewards application.

One important detail that the Times seems to have missed is that within a few weeks of IBM receiving the patent for its dieting program last December, the company inked a deal with popular fitness device maker BodyMedia. The deal with IBM will add a coaching element to the fitness tracking devices that BodyMedia offers its users.

“Using both historical and current BodyMedia data, as well as user input, the feedback engine tracks each user’s daily calorie burn, food intake and sleep patterns, and then compares the results to their weight loss goals,” the companies wrote in their partnership announcement. “By being able to analyze this fitness data, the new technology helps users make sense of this information and provides personalized feedback to help them stay on top of their fitness objectives.”

BodyMedia aims to add the coaching elements from IBM sometime this year and make the service part of its annual subscription package.

Michael Paolini, the inventor of the patent who works at IBM in Austin, Texas, mentions the deal with BodyMedia during a video interview that IBM Labs published to YouTube around the same time that the two companies announced they were working together. Curiously though, the BodyMedia announcement states that the IBM weight loss program is based on IBM Decision Management, which was “originally developed to help businesses and organizations streamline their day to day operations… [and] provides personalized services for clients across a wide range of industries, including fitness (Athletes Performance), airlines (British Airways), finance (VISA Europe), manufacturing (Caterpillar) and retail (Yves Rocher).”

The New York Times writes that “Paolini and his colleagues were inspired by the Honda Insight, a hybrid car that gives drivers immediate feedback on how their driving is affecting the car’s gas mileage,” when creating the weight loss application. “Seeing that feedback immediately, they reasoned, motivated people to change how they drove,” the Times reported.

Given the number of fitness and diet tracking apps currently elbowing each other for marketshare — could this lead to the next spate of mobile health patent lawsuits? Either way, it seems likely BodyMedia will be the first of many health partners for the company.