Health 2.0 Launch

I was at Health 2.0 this week. Launch is a pretty cool event. I like the format and the fun of seeing live demos of new technology and apps. I wrote about it and participated in it last year. The format hasn’t changed over the last several years, but the audience has certainly grown.

The companies were broadly representative this year. Health 2.0 did a good job of selecting a good range of concepts. Below are my thoughts and my rank order for the companies I liked the best. Keep in mind this is based mostly on a 3.5 minute demo and the 30 seconds or so I spent on each company’s website in between pitches.

  1. Vimty. I think end of life planning is a massive problem and opportunity. Patients, especially adult children of elderly patients, need tools to better understand choices and to better communicate preferences and wishes. Vimty offers a web app that makes it easy to walk through the process, either for yourself or to help a loved one. It also offers a connection to a virtual counselor and a network of virtual notaries so you can finalize paperwork and make it official and enforceable. I don’t know if states vary in terms of rules about virtual notaries, but it seems like a good way to do it. Anyway, I like Vimty because it has the potential to help people. If it can find a business model, it seems like it could do  well. Many of my friends are young doctors and after seeing patient after patient and family after family struggle with end of life issues, not to mention legal and ethics departments at hospitals, end of life planning is a big topic of discussion. Personally I’d use Vimty and have lots of friends that would as well, but maybe my social circles skew my perception of the problem. Do others see the tremendous potential in this?
  2. Medlio. This is a virtual insurance card as an app on your phone. I knew that much about Medlio going into Launch, but the messaging of the pitch was all about the patient experience and how Medlio can help patients understanding the cost of care and make it easier to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. According to Medlio, it covers 98 percent of the insured US population. The idea is relatively straightforward though I imagine the data and integrations on the back end are complicated. Once a claim is submitted for a Medlio user, the app tells the user the cost of the service, the amount covered by insurance, and what the patient’s responsibility is for the service. Medlio stores credit card info so a user can simply approve the charges and pay the provider. Medlio has connectivity with payers, so I assume the major challenge is integrating with providers and passing payments on to them. Improving collections for providers seems like an easy sell, but selling to individual doc officers can be daunting. I spoke with the Medlio team and they are exploring other distribution channels. Distribution will be the hardest part, but the app and service make a lot of sense.
  3. RecoveryRecord. I like technology and services that target specific conditions. Propellor Health (formerly Asthmapolis) is my best example in this area, targeting respiratory health. RecoveryRecord is a platform for patients with eating disorders. It augments treatment and has apps for both clinicians and patients. The apps for patients collects mood and dietary information and offers targeted interventions and self-management suggestions for those patients. The apps for clinicians provide insight into recovery and compliance. The pitch also mentioned something about a broader mental health offering, but maybe I misheard that part. I’d suggest staying focused on eating disorders in the immediate term.
  4. SmartPatients. I like this because it’s needed and it’s relatively simple. The idea is to collect data, at or as close to the point of care as possible, to examine the experience patients are having. The data is collected and aggregated and ideally can be used by customers to improve the patient experience. Healthcare isn’t the best at user experience and it’s hard to change what you don’t measure. SmartPatient helps with that measurement.
  5. Liviam. This was one of three companies at Launch doing social care coordination. This one I ranked higher because I liked the demo a lot more. The others got ranked at the bottom of my list. I’ve written before about the huge growth in aging at home services and the incredibly high number of households that act as caregivers for others. Involve-Care helps caregivers, and I think especially groups of caregivers, by giving them a social platform to help groups manage care related tasks. It makes caregiving social with an event feed and a stream attached to a task, helping with coordination. Things like meals and rides can be tasks and assigned. It seems like this is what Jiff setup out to do with care circles, though now Jiff has pivoted to an employer wellness app store concept.
  6. Mevoked. I spoke with the CEO a few weeks ago so I knew what Mevoked was doing before seeing the pitch. I think it’s a really cool concept, but I didn’t think the 3.5 minutes did a great job of showing how novel it is. Mevoked uses online browsing activity to identify trends and identify abnormal and potentially unhealthy activity, using that as a proxy for ongoing mood tracking. The initial release of the product offers a tool to parents to enable them to track kids online. With this tracking, parents can get a better sense of how they’re children are doing. There are also browser extensions for asking questions about current mood. I like the concept because it’s trying to take browsing activity, something that has only really been used in the past by the government and marketers, and uses it to better understand day-to-day health.
  7. Medvoy. This is a referral management platform for physicians. The idea is to make it easier for referring docs to find and refer to specialists. There’s a potential value to patients in helping streamline records transfer. And of course there is analytics so physicians can better understand their referral networks.
  8. OMSignal. This is the company that actually got the most votes and won Launch. It’s a shirt that acts as a sensor, so it was a pretty sexy demo. it’s meant to be worn underneath other clothes. The shirt is able to continually monitor and stream, via Bluetooth to phone I assume, activity, breathing, and heart rate information. All of the information collected can be tracked and monitored remotely. I think this could be very popular in certain athletic circles and maybe special forces. I’m not as sure that there is a real practical use case in healthcare because I’m not sure about the level of detail for the information collected and if this detail is reliable enough to use as a remote monitor.
  9. Genetrainer. This seems like the next stage of quantified self. The company integrates genetics data, I think initially supporting data from 23andMe. It uses that personal genetics data to create customized exercise plans. Personalized medicine, powered by genetics, is really interesting, and I’m sure some very motivated quantified selfers will like genetrainer.
  10. Involve-Care. This was another social care team concept, like Liviam. The app crashed during the demo and the presenter had to scramble to find the username from another app, copy it, and log back into the app. The presenter handled that part really well. The concept, to me at least, was very similar to Liviam.

So that was Launch. For others in attendance, what were you favorites? More about the overall Health 2.0 experience later.


Travis Good is an MD/MBA involved with health IT startups. More about me.

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