With 14.1 Americans gaining coverage under Obamacare, more individuals than ever are getting access to healthcare. This is great. What’s not great is that healthcare still costs a fortune. Growing deductibles and out of pocket costs make great healthcare too expensive and inaccessible for many Americans. A few Americans can afford high-end services like concierge medicine and face to face therapy—premium services that a tailored to your needs. Everyone else—from self-insured employers to individuals who need to find cheaper, better options—is driving demand for digital health products that are meaningful and easy to use.
Guest Contributor | March 11, 2015
Levin Brown is a MD/MPH candidate studying Health Policy and Management at Harvard School of Public Health.
Right now, one of the most important and exciting developments I’ve seen in health data is happening, and I really think you should be part of it.
Recently, a group of large EMR vendors and hospital stakeholders started exploring the new data exchange standard, HL7 FHIR. After many years of pressure, these vendors are sitting down together to discuss how to start exposing health data in a modern, consistent fashion. It’s taken a lot of work and leadership to get to this point and is going well so far—but now it’s time for the startup community to get involved.
Guest Contributor | February 05, 2015
A significant portion of the American population will be influenced this spring new tax penalty regulations. It’s predicted that up to six million households will have to pay a penalty not buying health insurance last year. Others will be surprised with a penalty for under-estimating their income when applying for a government subsidy.
Kit Check co-founders Tim Kress-Spatz and Kevin MacDonald in their office in Washington D.C. last year
Kevin MacDonald, co-founder and CEO, Kit Check
Earlier this week, Kit Check announced our Series B funding of $12 million led by Kaiser Permanente Ventures. We successfully raised our Series A of $10.4 million in July 2013 after joining Rock Health’s portfolio. In the eighteen months between funding rounds we grew from seven to 144 hospital customers with over 5,000 users on our cloud-based system and 3.6 million medications tracked.
Kit Check represents the only successful Internet of Things success story for hospital consumables to date. We believe it is also the best example of successful cloud software adoption in hospital operations. We are helping hospitals reduce cost and increase patient safety related to medication dispensing and use, which is an important industry contribution. It’s a great story and far from over. One constant throughout has been strong support from Rock Health.
Last week our team launched Lantern, an online and mobile tool that evaluates your mental health in minutes. Personally, this moment was one of great pride for what our team has been working on for over a year—but also one of anxiety and worry. (Luckily, we now have an app for that). Will people actually buy our product? Will anyone even notice? If people buy it, will they continue to use it?
Founders in any industry ask themselves these questions every day, so these aren’t novel feelings. But running a startup in healthcare adds an additional layer that’s even more important than the fundamentals of your business and market opportunity: will user health actually improve? And will it be significant enough to publish results (i.e. through a randomized controlled trial)? I believe most digital health companies fail to get off the ground trying to answer this. It’s much easier to get someone to buy something than it is to get them to buy something AND also prove to the scientific community that your product is effective.
Guest Contributor | September 12, 2014
Over the past five years, we’ve seen an explosion of companies working to scale digital health coaching. Rock Health specifically has seen a number of exciting announcements in 2014.
In February, MyFitnessPal announced the acquisition of Sessions. Omada Health completed a Series B funding round of $23 million in April. In May, Weight Watchers acquired Wello, and Kurbo Health announced that it raised $5.8 million to “use digital health coaches to help fight childhood obesity.”
Guest Contributor | September 11, 2014
Activity trackers died and were reborn on Tuesday. With the Apple Watch as well as Jawbone’s announcement that its apps will work with anyone’s hardware (which follows a similar announcement from Misfit), wearable activity tracking is no longer a product—its a feature.
What’s a wearable activity tracking company to do?
Jawbone and Misfit’s answer has been: platform! Wearable-donned people can use their app anywhere while the companies bring all of the user data onto their server. History is not on their side. All the great platforms in technology—from Windows, to iOS to Facebook and even to Google’s ad network—started out with a core technology/business that no one else could replicate. Then came the platform. While we can argue over which activity tracking app is best, the difference and the technology is minimal.
Two days of dynamic conversations at Rock Health’s 2014 Health Innovation Summit covered nearly every topic in medicine; from robotics to HIPAA reform. The packed audience included the big names you’d expect from Silicon Valley VC investor groups, payers, tech companies and health systems. On the physician side, this was the first year that someone from the AMA attended and there were a handful of physicians in the audience.
Of course, not every busy clinician could to make it out to the #HISUM conference, but thankfully, it’s not too late to join the conversation. Here’s four debates from HISUM that every physician should join:
Guest Contributor | June 20, 2014
Is healthcare in the United States inefficient? The answer is a pretty obvious ‘yes’ if you’re up to speed with the state of healthcare economics. At Kit Check, we started a company on the premise that hospital pharmacy operations are inefficient. Digital health startups often struggle not because their innovation falls short, but because they can’t overcome institutional resistance to change.
We recently surveyed pharmacy directors from over 600 hospitals across the US to determine how they thought about improving operational efficiency. The data was encouraging. Traditional resistance is shifting to institutional support.
No one expects lean management in healthcare
In hospital pharmacy, discussions tend to focus on new drug therapies, complex pharmaceutical interactions and identifying substitutes for drugs on shortage. You can imagine how surprised we were that 78% of the 600 hospital pharmacies surveyed were using Lean Management in select areas and 37% consider it part of their core philosophy.
We sat down with attorney-turned-entrepreneur Chas Ballew to get his take on what HIPAA compliance means for digital health companies. Catch Chas at CES’ Summer Summit Health Innovator’s Bootcamp dropping knowledge on HIPAA and everything startups need to know about working with patient data.
What do healthcare startups need to know about HIPAA?
HIPAA is the federal regulatory scheme that protects the privacy and security of patient health data. Not every digital health startup is subject to it, but most are. And nearly all of the really interesting, high-impact data is regulated.
The most important thing for a startup is to make something people want, which likely means working with that high-impact data. Startups need to experiment and iterate to find out what works and what doesn’t, so access to data is key.