Ten Startups Defining Tomorrow’s Healthcare Scene
We’ve witnessed a lot of changes of in healthcare industry in the past few years. With the advent of Internet of things and growing popularity of fitness trackers and the tremendous amounts of data they are generating, there are a deluge of health apps available on every conceivable platform. There is, of course, a lot of scope to improve, and there is even more room to dream better. Nevertheless, here is a list of 10 startups which we think are making waves across the healthcare market.
Open Hand Project:
Open Hand Project is an open-source project that uses tools and platforms like GitHub, Upverter and Blender to design robust, low-cost prosthetic hands. Founder, Joel Gibbard, left his job at National Instruments to pursue OHP. The prosthetic-arm design, which is known as Dextrus, aims at providing readily accessible design to anyone who wants to build a prosthetic arm, and it is expected to bring down costs from tens of thousands of dollars to a mere 1000 USD.
On first impression, Open Hand Project is one of the many startups that erupted with the advent of better 3-D printing methods, trying to do what was previously unthinkable. There are so many of this kin that they’ve become banal, but OHP is different – a little: it’s open-source and it loosely falls in the healthcare domain. Now, these are two phrases that are rarely found together, and let’s hope that open-source percolates into medical science and pharma, and make healthcare better, transparent, and affordable, just like it is doing to everything-software. Alongside developing designs and making them accessible to everyone, the company also sells products like Touchscreen gloves, phone covers and other cool tech, to support the project. OHP has been featured in and profiled by many reputed blogs like TechCrunch, Wired, and BBC.
AdhereTech creates the smart pill bottles. These patented tiny bottles pack in several sensors and cellular technology; collect information regarding your medication adherence; alert you and intervene when you don’t adhere through text alerts, phone calls, and more. Users’ data is stored securely and real-time, and it can be put to use if needed. Currently, a handful of top pharmaceutical companies are using AdhereTech’s bottles to sells medications. Not only does it provide patients with a better service, there is also a business incentive to the pharma companies in this: the alerts sent to customers can be customized, and it can be used to build better brand loyalty. AdhereTech has got funding of over two million USD from Blueprint Health, and it has got more than a few feathers in its cap. The company has also garnered numerous awards from various healthcare organizations.
It’s enough that a surgeon is adept at operating patients. He shouldn’t be expected to handle all the imaging devices in the OR, or verbally instruct everything to another person effectively. TedCube is a company from Spain that exactly allays this discomfort with its flagship product TedCas. With gesture control and voice recognition technologies, TedCas is aiming at making using interaction between computers and surgeons in OR more natural, touch-free, and hassle-free. And the cherry on the top is, TedCas plugs into most of the existing electronic infrastructure, so no extra costs are incurred. TedCas has received seeding of about 600 thousand USD in two rounds of investment. It is partners with some major medical imaging devices manufacturers; Microsoft, as a member of TAP; and Leap Motion.
This New York-based startup aids patients with respiratory problems to take better care of themselves and engage in it actively. Cohero Health does it with two products: a smart medication inhaler called HeroTracker, which works very like AdhereTech’s smart pill bottle, and a spirometer. Both of the devices connect to the internet, and adherence and how the patient is responding to the medication can be tracked on Cohero Health’s mobile apps – AsthmaHero and BreatheSmart. The apps also have the functionality to suggest real-time optimal medication for the patients. The company currently has a funding of over four million USD from various investors and is providing services through b2b sales only.
Curatio is a personal health management software with a social element to it. Platforms like Curatio heralds the next generation of social-networking, where the platform and your network is highly specific to the issue. Curatio matches you with other patients dealing with the same (chronic) medical condition and connects you to them, providing you with an effective support group which isn’t just about giving you emotional support; but also providing you with valuable information, tips and techniques, and inspiration. Family members and doctors can also be a part of the support group.
Along with the aforementioned features, the apps provide a plethora of tools such as storing your medical records and analyzing them, and setting reminders for appointments and adherence to medication. At present, the company offers three apps: ThaliMe for thalassemia patients, Healing Circles for patients with Cardio-vascular disease, and Will2Thrive for patients diagnosed with cancer. This Vancouver-based startup has won 100 thousand USD in the seventh annual Health 2.0 conference held in Silicon Valley.
With its wide-spread use in advertising, Big Data has got a negative connotation of sorts. But Kuveda uses Big Data to enable doctors to give patients a personalized cancer diagnosis and improved treatment recommendations. This web-based tool is based on the patient’s unique genomic profile, and it reduces analysis time from weeks to minutes, and reduces cost tenfold to around thousand dollars. Big Data tools such as Kuveda are not far from changing the paradigm of how patients gets tested and diagnosed. This California-based startup is a b2b service company, and it partners with oncology hospitals, and molecular diagnostics laboratories and companies. Kuveda won 1776 Challenge Cup in 2015.
The Human Diagnosis Project:
Known as Human Dx for short, The Human Diagnosis project is trying to actively learn to map medical problems to its diagnosis by gathering information from patient, medical, and scientific communities. Unlike its open data counterparts, Human Dx is keen on directly putting the aggregated data to use using machine learning. This startup, currently being incubated by Y Combinator, is now under active development, and when completed, the data would be available for anyone to use for free for academic and non-commercial purposes. Over time, Human Dx is trying to sustain through royalty from implementation of this medical intelligence in products, services, and applications, and licensing agreements of the data. Also, the company has promised to make most of its resources open-source. CrowdMed is another company like Human Dx which aims at diagnosing rare medical conditions that doctors can’t pinpoint, by collecting data from a diverse community of people through gamification of the process.
This ambitious startup from India has started out as an appointment booking and management service for both patients and doctors. Patients can book medical appointments through Practo’s website and apps, and doctors can manage them using Practo Ray, subscription of which the doctors have to buy. The site also serves ads from doctors. Recently, Practo has announced its entry into medicine e-commerce with Practo Order. Though there is resistance to this from some conservative circles, over two million people are using Practo for appointments, and the platform has over 200,000 healthcare professionals and 10,000 hospitals. In series – C funding last August, it got funding of 90 million USD. The company has acquired four other companies – Instahealth, Qikwell, Genii, and Fitho. Although this is more of a healthcare logistics company, Practo is revolutionizing the way people visit doctors, so this company made our list.
CareDox is a coordination platform designed for parents and schools to take better care of the children. The company offers a one-stop place to manage children’s health records. This New York-based startup provides real time medical reports of students, providing key information and insights about their medications, allergies, diet, etc. The company is a b2b service company. A number of top school in the US are partnered with CareDox. In three rounds of investment, the company has got a funding of about 4.5 million USD.
Managing a health insurance is a herculean task. You have to know what’ll be covered and where. You have to know how much extra cost you will have to incur. You have to keep track of the insurance documents as well as your medical documents. When there is this much inconvenience in anything, a revolution is bound to happen, and that here is Oscar Health. This NYC-based startup, which is chiefly operating in and around the city now, makes managing healthcare plans as intuitive as we hope it can get. Oscar Health has got funding of over 300 million USD from various investors, including big names like Peter Thiel and Google Capital.
Most of the startups listed above are b2b startups and were incubated or being incubated by Startup Health. One of the best things about b2b startups in healthcare domain is that they don’t have to directly appeal to the customers, who here are patients, and it’s difficult to sell something new when it comes to healthcare. (Especially when progressive healthcare meant WebMD for many, until recently). The reputed organizations which provide healthcare usually know the best for their patients, and it’s relatively easy to please these organizations, provided the service or the product is safe, good, and affordable. Collaboration with these organizations makes entry into market easier. However, as patients, we don’t have to fret too much about the reputation as long as quality and service are the things that matter.
Inampudi, C. (2016). Ten Startups Defining Tomorrow’s Healthcare Scene – Market Data Forecast Blog. Retrieved from http://www.marketdataforecast.com/blog/ten-startups-defining-tomorrows-healthcare/