There’s no question that the digital health industry is in its boom phase. To many of us, it seems like every day brings a few press releases about the latest startup thats going to fundamentally transform healthcare and solve all its woes. The reality, though, is that the majority will not be around five or ten years from now.
In that haystack, there are a few that will, however, prove successful and become a part of your clinical practice down the road. Its those companies that accelerators and mentorship programs like StartUp Health are out to find.
Last week, StartUp Health announced its latest class of companies, each of which will get a big boost with funding, advice from industry leaders, opportunities for networking, and more. Of their thirteen inductees, here are three that caught our eye as particularly interesting and innovative.
For patients facing complex and difficult to understand health problems, other patients who have faced similar challenges can be an extraordinary source of support and guidance. Seeing patients from those bonds in the waiting rooms, hospital units, and testing suites of the hospital, I’ve been struck by the power those relationships can have in helping people get through some really tough times.
Curatio is a startup that is creating secure, HIPAA-compliant social networks around specific diseases. Patients can create networks that include family and friends for personal support. Curatio also works in the background to connect people facing similar challenges and create virtual support circles more easily. They’ve already partnered with several advocacy groups to to create social networks for women facing cardiovascular disease, thalassemia patients, and young oncology patients. As they describe it,
We are a matchmaking and engagement platform for patients. We help patients find each other, and give them private, mobile networks that deliver the connections, resources and guidance needed for successful health management.
Access, particularly for primary care, can be a big challenge despite increasingly cramped clinic sessions. So it can be frustrating when a patient cancels an appointment, particularly when on short notice.
The idea behind Avenue from JayStreet Technologies is simple. It creates a virtual waiting list and when there is a cancellation, it will automatically run down that waiting list to fill the slot. Assuming integration with common medical scheduling software platforms, Avenue seems to be a very focused, simply solution for a common problem facing clinics across the country.
Diet is a critical part of management of several diseases including diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and many more. My patients often ask me for suggestions or tips on what to eat. Unfortunately, I’m not a very good cook and my repertoire is not that diverse.
Nutrify’s health app, presumably for Android and iPhone, will take a patients medical history and help by delivering tailored recipes that follow both appropriate recommendations from “leading dietary organizations” according to their website. They also state that their recommendations are based on published research; for example, they cite a recipe for salmon that is rich in CoQ10 which “may decrease harmful amyloid plaques in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” As they describe it,
Nutrify allows users to generate individual recipes and meal plans that are bested suited for their clinical condition, health goals, medications and allergies. Unlike many nutrition apps that look one-dimensionally at calories, Nutrify looks comprehensively at macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that one needs for optimal health. Nutrify is the only app to provide precise, science-based answers. We aggregate and deliver meal plans based on the guidelines of leading dietary organizations as well as leading peer-reviewed journals.
For patients, not only could this help them comply with standard dietary recommendations like, say, a sodium restriction for heart failure, it could also be empowering by allowing them an avenue by which to take charge of their disease. How well this product ultimately complies with accepted best practices and how it handles expectations around the value of particular vitamins will be critical to whether it becomes an app that clinicians can comfortably recommend.