What’s Your Patient Engagement Strategy?

I like to ask people from health systems, most of them from the IT side, about their patient engagement or digital engagement strategy. It’s interesting to hear how systems think about digital engagement considering the buzz and hype it is getting from vendors and pundits.

My unscientific opinion is that very few systems have anything resembling a patient engagement strategy. Despite getting so much attention, most healthcare delivery organizations aren’t preparing for patient engagement.

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News 8/8/14

Practice Fusion acquires Ringadoc, which offers an after hours call service for providers. I have a few friends that use Ringadoc and seem to like it, at least after using for about six months. Ringadoc will be integrated into Practice Fusion’s EHR product, though it already announced a year ago that it had integrated with Practice Fusion’s API. The CEO of Practice Fusion, Ryan Howard, was one of the seed/angel investors for Ringadoc. Howard was also one of the co-founders of 100Plus, the behavioral change app that was also acquired by Practice Fusion.

News 8/8/14

Figure1, which some call “Instagram for doctors,” announces a $4 million Series A. The round is led by well known VCs Union Square Ventures (USV). Figure1 is based in Toronto and has pretty impressive stats – 125,000 registered users and 60,000 comments. I wonder how those engagement metrics compares with Doximity? If we’re following the non-health social networks, Doximity will be acquiring Figure1 relatively soon.

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Direct Primary Care for Startups

I wrote a post on concierge medicine and direct primary care (DPC) in March 2013. It didn’t get into much detail about why DPC is such a great target for new digital health companies and services, only that it makes sense for providers given the  practice and payer market.

Since that post, I’ve had discussions with DPC docs, docs thinking about DPC (research linked in that last post expects ~10 percent of physicians to add aspects of DPC to their practices), practice management groups targeting DPC, and even a few investors evaluation DPC as a segment of the market.

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News 8/1/14

Has anybody heard of Xiaomi? I hadn’t until last week. Since then I’ve seen tons of news about the Chinese smartphone maker with a knack for copying competitor products and offering dirt cheap alternatives. Xiaomi is the fifth largest smartphone maker in the world and it achieved that status in only four years of existence. That’s impressive. Last week it announced a fitness band, similar to a Fitbit or a Jawbone band, for $13. It’s called the Mi Band. That’s quite the steal. It scales nicely for an employer, direct primary care practice, health system, or insurer that wants to provide fitness hardware to a group. It tracks movement and sleep and can also unlock Xiaomi phones. I like using Knock on my phone to unlock my computer, so I imagine I’d like the wristband to unlock phone feature. The band also has a 30-day battery life.

News 8/1/14

Another fitness band product launched this week, this one from mobile fitness app maker Runtastic. The band, called Orbit, costs $120 and works with Runtastic apps. I can’t imagine this being a success since the product is largely undifferentiated from established players like Fitbit and Jawbone and it’s getting easier and easier to connect devices and data from different vendors. If this was Apple, it would be a different story.

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More Users in More Places Able to Do More Things

I really enjoy Benedict Evans’ research on technology, especially mobile technology. Evans is up there with Mary Meeker in terms of the quality of the analysis and the breadth of coverage and he posts content regularly on his site.

I was listening to his most recent mobile podcast yesterday. He’s does them from time to time. This one was sponsored by mega-VC Andreessen Horowitz. It’s 16 interesting minutes, or you can read this post that covers the most relevant information in text.

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