Healthbox Boston 2012 8/22/12

Following Rock Health in the battle for Boston healthcare accelerator supremacy — at least in terms of who got there first — Healthbox recently announced its new class of startups for its Boston incubator program. Companies give up 7% of their ownership in return for $50,000 in cash, a supportive group of mentors, access to potential clients and partners, and office space. Here’s the list.

Aavya Health turns lab data into personalized risk scores, with links to education and other resources. Quest and LabCorp seem like good partners for this. I’m totally blanking on the name of another startup (was it in Blueprint or another accelerator?) that was doing something similar based on lab values. Speaking of mobile lab values, I was surprised and impressed to see Quest’s Gazelle mobile app in the App Store Top 20 for health and wellness.

Abiogenix is going after medication adherence with a smart pillbox that monitors adherence and sends reminders as needed. It appears that data is transmitted to a mobile device and then sent on from there. I think it would probably work better (and the carriers would love it) to embed a data-only 3G card into the pillbox itself, but the cost difference may be significant. Other smart pillboxes are already on the market, so I’m curious to see how Abiogenix differentiates itself. Signing BCBS (which is a Healthbox partner) as a pilot customer would be one good way.

Bon’App wants to make it easier to find the nutritional content of foods as well as tracking what you eat via web or mobile apps (iOS and Android). Searches can be initiated by typing or by speaking. Voice did not work for me on the web, but it worked great in the iOS app. I searched for "Chipotle" and it brought up a nice list of meal options with basic nutrition info (calories, sugar, salt, and bad fat) on each. Colors (green, yellow, red) are used to denote healthy or unhealthy. The company plans to add recommendations based on location and other social features. It’s powered by Nuance for speech and FatSecret for the nutritional database. I use LoseIt! (or at least I did for a while) and learned a ton about the foods that I was eating. Bon’App is going to have to make it very easy for users because it has has to catch LoseIt! and MyFitnessPal, both of which have a nice head start when it comes to users.

GeckoCap is a sensor that fits onto existing asthma inhalers to monitor usage. The target users are pediatric asthmatics. In addition to retroactively providing compliance reports, proactive reminders can also be sent to parents. GeckoCap seems a lot like Asthmapolis, so I imagine the data will also be used for public health purposes.

Gweepi is creating technology to help nursing homes meet reporting requirements of CMS. The company is very focused with its first product, "A disposable patch solution with micro-sensors specifically designed for geriatric patients with incontinence." That’s nice and specific. Data collected is automatically sent to CMS and will also be used to provide nursing homes with care plan recommendations.

Healthy Delivery is trying to make it easier to eat healthy. Users pick recipes for a week and the ingredients are delivered to their door. Right now it’s just a Shopify site and may remain so for the foreseeable future. I could see integrating well-known chefs like Jamie Oliver to contribute recipes. You still need people to care enough to go to this site, so maybe the company should be targeting moms and making it social so you can follow friends, share recipes, build virtual cookbooks, etc. Lots of other companies have different approaches to this. It will be a land grab to win users.

iQuartic is attempting to build a platform to aggregate clinical content from different systems and provide analytics and dashboards on top of it. iQuartic calls this HIE 2.0. From its website, it looks to be taking data from GE, Allscripts, Meditech, and eClinicalWorks. I’m not sure how new the company or technology is considering the amount of hiring it is doing and the size of the team. It’s certainly a good mission. Others, like ForwardHealth, seem very similar.

Smart Scheduling is creating intelligent scheduling software to normalize schedules for provider offices, reducing overbooking and no-shows. The summary says the company will use machine learning to predict patient likelihood of showing up for an appointment. This would be nice, but I’m not sure how much it will lower patient wait times as the company claims.

Uprise Medical is trying to fix patient education. Providers use tablets to educate patients with disease and procedure-specific materials. Those same materials are then e-mailed to the patient so they can review them at home. Considering 1) most patients don’t retain what providers tell them and 2) providers are increasingly being seen as educators of patients, the value for something like this is very clear. One of the founders is an ophthalmology resident, so I imagine this will be the specialty where Uprise starts.

Yosko is a mobile front end (specifically iPad) for EMRs. It was developed as part of Harvard innovation lab . I can’t tell too much more than that because the description on the website makes Yosko sound like it does almost everything a clinician would need, which seems fairly unlikely. It was developed based on feedback from working residents at Harvard. I love the vision of a well-designed mobile frontend for EMRs, though it’s a hard space to get into because you have to work with the EMR vendors and enterprise IT, legal, etc. Harvard will likely help with this. If Yosko is successful, it will be chasing AirStrip, which already has some very strong partnerships and data to backup the efficacy of its platform.

Which of these companies has the best chance for success? Vote here.

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

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