News 10/2/14


Drug information site Iodine launched this week, founded by the former executive editor of Wired and a Google engineer. Iodine uses Google Surveys to collect information about medication use directly from consumers. Over the last year, Iodine has been successful at collecting surveys and data. The site is interesting in that you can quickly find meds and see the experience that people have had with those medications. You can also filter down to see specifically how your demographic has experienced taking that medication. It’s interesting data, especially if it can provide insights that help us understand the different reasons for non-adherence in specific populations and with specific medications. I’m not sure how consumers will use the data or whether doctors will like getting links to Iodine pages from their patients, but the data being collected is valuable and adds new insights to a massive industry. I’m sure a business model can be figured out.


This feels like big news for fundraising. WiserTogether announces new funding of $9 million from Martin Ventures and Merck. The company offers a price transparency platform for consumers, which is a big deal if you can get consumers to use it and consumers feel the pain of higher cost healthcare services.


Planned Parenthood seems to be the most controversial user of telemedicine services. There was the big debate in Iowa about remote consults for Plan B and the case is ongoing. Planned Parenthood launches a mobile app for patients in Washington and Minnesota to coordinate face-to-face visits with Planned Parenthood providers. Patients complete a visit then get some form of birth control by mail order. The app will soon provide mail order STD testing. Planned Parenthood services, while legal, remain hard to access in many geographies. On the surface it seems like a perfect fit for telemedicine — using technology to extend the reach of a limited set of providers – but not everyone agrees.

Docbook logo

DocBookMD announces a partnership with the California Medical Association (CMA). It offers communication tools for medical providers, is a free benefit for CMA members. The DocBookMD model is cool in that it thinks of messages more broadly than simply clinician to clinician. It integrates automated messaging triggered from clinical systems and lab systems, making it a more powerful solution for users and enterprises.


Jiff raises another $18 million. The employer-focused company has pivoted a few times to where it is now. It integrates data from multiple consumer health devices into white labeled apps for employers. Employers can then engage employees with fitness-related games and social interactions. The cost is $1–2 per employee per month.


Teladoc raises $50 million in a round was led by Jafco. Teledoc is a telehealth platform that targets employers and has a growing list of impressive customers.

Sensely raises $1.25 million. It offers a virtual care platform, complete with avatar and analytics by IBM Watson, to direct patients to the right level of care. If a human (non-avatar) clinician is needed, the app also does video visits.

A new bill going in front of Congress expands the ways ACOs can do remote monitoring and provide telehealth services. The most interesting aspect to me is allowing ACOs to use store-and-forward or asynchronous telehealth services. These services have good data that they work. Hopefully we’ll see more legal restrictions lifted on their use.


Travis Good, MD/MBA, is co-founder of Catalyze. More about me.

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