We’re one month into our first Summer in Digital Health program and can’t wait any longer to introduce you to the stellar group of interns who spend their days working on various projects for our portfolio companies, and their down time attending Rock Health roundtables, social events, and weekly founder breakfasts. Meet the interns!
June 23, 2014
The FDA is up to their neck in digital health. First, in a rare move, they announced they’ll be hands-off with certain mobile medical apps that happen to resemble HealthKit. Then they told pharma and medical device companies what they can and can’t tweet. They finished the week off by launching a review into a new 510(k) application—this time from 23andMe as part of its first step to re-enter healthcare.
Want to train your brain in the art of digital health company building? Check out our Startup Elements series, where luminaries drop knowledge about everything from IP and accounting to HIPAA and the FDA.
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.
With over 13,000 health and fitness apps in the App Store, the market for mhealth applications is hugely consumer driven. This growing trend is bolstered by the fact that 35% of Americans believe that monitoring their health will help them live longer. Though one in four physicians prescribe apps to their patients to help them meet this goal, 42% of physicians actually worry that these apps will make their patients too independent. Get the skinny on how doctors and patients use mhealth applications with this infographic.
June 16, 2014
Another week, another tech giant’s digital health platform. It looks like Google is planning a comeback in digital health, while Apple feels it’s their moral imperative to move into the space. The feds are looking to cross over too, luring young tech minds to the East Coast to conquer HealthCare.gov 2.0, despite the culture clash.
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.
We had an overwhelming number of questions during the session, so here’s a rundown of all the answers we covered in our Q&A session.
How are biosensing wearables being supported and who is leveraging the data from those devices?
It’s largely a function of the platform companies that we outlined. Companies like Jiff & Redbrick are good examples of companies that are leveraging the data. They are working in the employer wellness space alongside health insurance companies and employers. Employees have their choice of device they bring with them to work and they get rewards and incentives for using them. Employers can leverage biosensing wearables in order to be able to track their incentive programs and have a viable source of truth for their employees biometric data.
This has been a year marked with pessimism about the future of biosensing wearables. We’re not buying it.
For the past 15 months, Rock Health has been conducting industry research on the growing wearables and biosensors market, and we mean growing. Venture funding of biosensors and wearable technology increased 5X from 2011-2013—more than double the growth of digital health overall during the same period. The merging of these two spaces into a singular category—biosensing wearables—is where we see the most potential to impact healthcare.
Today there are an overwhelming number of trending wearables, but not all of them are capable of measuring or telling us something about our health. Similarly, there are plenty of biosensors that measure physiological inputs but do not have a wearable form factor. That’s why biosensing wearables are exciting: they allow for continuous physiological monitoring in a wide range of wearable form factors.
Kickstarter recently announced an end to their long-time ban on health and medical products. As the largest crowdfunding platform, with $1B in pledges since it launched in 2009, Kickstarter originally opted out of the digital health space to focus on creative campaigns such as design, art, and film. (Check out this spreadsheet that details funding amounts raised on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter by category).
Indiegogo has since emerged as the de facto platform for digital health crowdfunding, with $7.8M in funded projects in 2013, and $2.1M raised thus far in 2014. They’re known as the open platform, which means there is minimal (or no) formal vetting of campaigns and a higher percentage of campaign failures. In fact, the majority of healthcare campaigns on Indiegogo fail to raise their goal.
Digital health crowdfunding campaigns in 2013
This morning, Apple made its much-anticipated move into healthcare with HealthKit (aka, the formerly rumored HealthBook.) With a typically dissonant and ever-growing ecosystem of health apps, devices and data, digital health needs a major player to enter to integrate these products and tools. We’re excited about what the largest company in the world is capable of doing for digital health. Here’s some perspective on what a seasoned digital health entrepreneur had to say about today.
HealthKit is really exciting. Putting all of this information in one place, in a gorgeous app that will reach a ton of people, could do wonders for public health. But it won’t do much good if the on-screen content is designed without input from people who deeply understand health metrics. It looks like Apple or one of its partners made some technical mistakes on a slide that was shown during the big reveal of their new health app.