President Obama and Mitt Romney spoke only in broad strokes and big numbers about how they would improve healthcare Wednesday night. But nine health tech startups, graduating Thursday from New York health tech accelerator Blueprint Health, have some very specific plans.
In front of a packed room of about 500 investors, doctors, health entrepreneurs and other healthcare experts, Blueprint Health’s latest class of entrepreneurs pitched their startups, which built products ranging from a souped-up pill bottle that makes sure patients take their meds to a big data analytics service to help hospitals save money and manage risk to a virtual companion for the elderly.
All of the startups offer solutions that ultimately benefit patients (there’s a full list of the companies here), but here are five addressing the consumer experience most directly.
For the founders of AdhereTech, a pill bottle isn’t just a container sitting on your shelf, but hardware that could be used to relay information about whether or how frequently a patient is taking his medication. Using sensors, the company’s patented pill bottles can tell in real time when a patient has taken a single pill or a single milliliter of fluid. If it doesn’t sense that meds have been taken, it can send reminders to get a patient to stick to his regime. On average, 60 percent of patients take their medicine as ordered, but with AdhereTech pill bottles that figure reaches 90 percent, the company said.
Through big data, AllazoHealth also wants to make sure patients take their meds. The startup’s clients are health insurers and pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs), but it uses demographic, behavioral and other data about individual members to predict who will stick to their regime and who won’t. It also determines the best interventions for those who don’t take their medication – from a live phone call to an automated message or email. It claims a predictive accuracy of 97 percent.
Aiming to help lower readmission rates for congestive heart failure, HRS offers hospitals a mobile platform for educating and guiding patients through outpatient care. The gamified program encourages patients to enter in their daily activity, weight, medication consumption and other information. And it conveys that info to medical providers in real-time so they can determine the best next steps for patients. The platform helps support patient recovery as well as enables hospitals to avoid penalties for high readmission rates.
Much like healthcare pricing information service Castlight Health, Symbiosis Health is about bringing more transparency to healthcare. The web-based platform is for employers transitioning their employees to high-deductible health plans and it makes it easy for employees to find doctors and medical providers in their are and then compare the cost. But while Castlight uses claims data, Symbiosis plans to get it from the medical providers themselves. Getting the data and scaling could be a challenge but while the platform is not yet live it plans to launch early next year with Walgreens and Discover.
A tablet-based mobile app, GeriJoy is essentially a virtual pet for seniors. Through the app, seniors interact with a virtual dog (Buddy), who can share messages and images emailed to the program, as well as speak and answer questions through a live GeriJoy representative. The company’s pitch is that GeriJoy can provide companionship and intellectual stimulus to to reduce depression and potentially diminish dementia. Initially, the startup is targeting senior care facilities but plans to sell directly to consumers soon. The cost ranges from $29 to $99 a month, depending on level of interaction provided.