Digital Health Companies Poised to Grow
When the OIS started its digital showcase in 2012, there was only one company presenting in the category. “Today there are six—evidence that this area has huge momentum,” said Gilbert H. Kliman, MD, OIS Co-Chair and Managing Director of InterWest Partners.
Mobile health platforms and applications lead the pack, with new approaches to diagnosis, patient education and ophthalmic disease tracking. CheckedUp, for example, wants to revolutionize how doctors and patients interact. It is a mobile platform that allows the practice to educate patients, help them make decisions, and provide interactive tools for follow up or chronic care. “The education tools that exist today are all inadequate. They are largely passive, hard to update, a
nd not tailored to the patient,” said CheckedUp Founder and CEO Richard M. Awdeh, MD. He reported that in a recent clinical trial in four high-volume practices, CheckedUp reduced the share of patients who felt anxious about their upcoming surgery from 90% to 66%, and increased the share of patients who could identify details of how cataract surgery is performed, from 39% to 95%.
Doctors and patients can communicate in new ways with the help of AppVisit, created by AppMedicine Inc. Company founder Harvey Fishman, MD, PhD believes that technology will change medicine, much as it has changed other brick-and-mortar businesses. AppVisit is a flexible, cross-platform (iOS, Android, web) solution that can be integrated with EHR systems for appointment reminders and secure messaging. It also enables secure, virtual “e-visits” that have the potential to speed up acute care and reduce nonreimburseable post-op visits. Although the company is a young one, AppVisit already has customers in ophthalmology, dermatology, primary care, psychology, and adolescent care.
Gobiquity Inc. is another app-based company that has already commercialized its first product and is bringing in revenue. The GoCheck Kids app allows pediatricians to screen children for amblyopia simply by taking a smartphone photo. Despite the very robust algorithms behind the technology, the app is easy to use and provides immediate results. As part of its mission to bring specialty testing into primary care via mobile health applications, Gobiquity has a whole suite of digital diagnostic tools in its pipeline. The company has plans, for example, to migrate into the adult primary care environment with other screening tools for glaucoma and retinal disease.
DigiSight Technologies Inc. is also integrating mobile diagnostics into clinical care, with a focus on using technology to administer well-established tests like visual acuity, Amsler Grid, and more than 10 others—the results of which all become available through their physician portal. “We plan to be active in all areas of mobile health, including apps, smart phone add-ons, connected implantables, and wearables,” said CEO Doug Foster. He said the company’s founders initially thought their technology could improve outcomes with between-visit monitoring. “We are now finding that these tools can also be used to improve practices’ work flow and financial performance and for research purposes,” says Foster. A number of DigiSight clinical trials are underway, including six that have been completed.