Healthcare tech startups are making advancements in machine learning, wearables, and communication platforms. Here are 10 companies to keep an eye on.
Healthcare startups represent a booming industry: Between 2010 and 2014, healthcare tech venture funding deals grew 200%. Driven by the aging baby boomer population and the proliferation of electronic medical records and mobile devices in the industry, tech startups continue to impact the medical field, collecting data and attempting to improve patient outcomes.
At a startup pitch event on Wednesday at the Louisville Innovation Summit, a number of companies presented their vision to a four-person jury, which was tasked with selecting the most promising idea. Here are 10 companies to watch out for in the coming year.
Vivor's PayRX—winner of the startup live pitch event at the Louisville Innovation Summit—is a platform that matches patients with financial assistance programs. The system collects and continuously updates data on healthcare financial assistance programs, all of which have unique eligibility rules. So far, 25 hospitals are using the product, and have connected more than 500 patients to financial assistance. It is intended for outpatient treatments, such as cancer patients or those with other chronic disease that require ongoing treatments. When the researchers studied a large number of patients using the program, they found more than half matched to at least one financial aid program.
As a rapid, mobile cognitive health tracking solution, Braincheck turns neurocognitive tests into games. In just five minutes, the platform can measure a wide range of cognitive functions and compare them to both the patient's baseline and the population average, said CEO Yael Katz. BrainCheck currently has thousands of customers in continuing care retirement communities, and plans to launch into the home health care industry next, Katz said.
Careband is a wearable technology for people with dementia living in long-term care facilities. The wristband pinpoints the location of patients 24/7, with a precision that locates their whereabouts down to the specific room they're in. The software gathers data on this patient's schedule, so it can alert the caregiver when there is a change in behavior, such as a fall. Careband can track a patient indoors, as well as from a 3-mile radius outside. It also offers a 30-day battery life.
Caregoals is a software platform that helps physicians introduce, educate, document, and record conversations about advanced-care planning. Some $270 billion is spent on unwanted care in the last month of life, said co-founder Blaine Warkentine. The patient can use the software on a tablet at a clinic, so the doctor knows the patient's wishes for end-of-life care. There is also a 10-minute conversation recorded at the end. The process lasts from 12 to 20 minutes, leading seniors through a series of questions and videos to make end-of-life decisions before an episode occurs and it is too late to do so.
Kytera is an advanced remote monitoring solution that detects emergency and distress situations among seniors as they happen. Through a wristband and five sensors installed around a senior's home, Kytera harnesses indoor GPS technology to gather details about a person's activity around their house, even in the presence of other people. The system learns the person's routine so it can detects deviations from it, as well as emergency situations. If a person falls down, an alert is sent to both an app on their caregiver's phone, as well as a call center. The plan is to sell these to existing panic button service providers, which 2 million seniors utilize, said CMO Oz Krakowski.
LifeBio is a story and communication platform that allows providers to record patients' life stories. LifeBio currently has 100 clients, including Mayo Clinic and United Healthcare. Seniors often suffer from loneliness and lack of purpose, both of which have a negative impact on health and lead to more hospitalizations. The platform asks patients questions about where they grew up, their school experiences, and major life events. "LifeBio uses the power of life stories to reduce loneliness and prevent early death," founder and CEO Beth Sanders said.
7. The Right Place
The Right Place is a communication solution that helps hospitals and other providers match the right patient to the right place of care quickly and efficiently after they are discharged. The solution aims get patients out of hospitals faster, fill empty beds at skilled nursing facilities with the right patient mix, lower readmissions to hospitals, and engage patients and families in making decisions about their care options.
Ygeia's HomeVitals device is a tool that integrates biometrics, local storage, analytics, machine learning, and pattern recognition to allow for personalized chronic disease management at home. The startup is building a kit that will learn about the patient in their home through machine learning. It will compile their electronic records and current weight and temperature information to make projections with predictive analytics, and send that information to their provider. This device would act as a hub for all other FDA approved devices, with integrated telehealth. One goal is to bring hospital tools to patients in rural settings, monitor their health, and connect them to care more easily, said COO Mark Miller.
9. Constant Therapy
Constant Therapy is an app that offers device-based personalized neurological therapy for the treatment of neurological disorders such as strokes and dementia. It was created by Boston University researchers, and has delivered more than 27 million exercises to patients. Care providers can have patients do the exercises during visits, or patients can complete them at home on their own.
Cognotion is a digital-training provider that aims to connect underemployed populations with a career path in healthcare. The company recently partnered with Signature HealthCARE's network of skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities to develop a new digital Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training course that uses IBM Watson to answer student's questions.
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