News 5/23/14


Mango Health raises $5.25 million from Kleiner Perkins. Mango is a Rock Health company that brought gaming to healthcare to solve medication adherence. It sounds like Mango is looking to expand beyond medication adherence into more ongoing patient engagement and chronic disease management. If its app is sticky for medication adherence, maybe they can grow more broadly into engagement.


Health kiosk vendor HealthSpot lands a pilot with Kaiser in San Diego. The kiosks will be used by Kaiser to remotely monitor patients and collect patient data. It seems the kiosk vendors, especially HealthSpot and AmericanWell, will be vying for real estate. It will be interesting to see how the two models work: (a) working with providers and systems to empower their providers to do remote care, as is the case with this Kaiser pilot, and (b) providing the kiosk and the remote physician workforce to manage all aspects of kiosk patients.


Starting a genetics company is expensive, at least that’s my impression after watching some of the recent fundraising efforts by DNA-focused ventures. This week Assurex Health announces $32 million in new funding. The company is a spinout of Cincinnati Children’s. The company analyzes samples from cheek swabs and generates a reports for physicians on which medications are likely to be the most effective. The company is focused on depression, ADHD, and pain. Are insurers paying for this type of personalized medicine service?


Blueprint company Healthify wins $100,000 in a Maryland state startup competition. Conceptually, I like this company a lot. Its goal is to help health plans and at-risk providers assess and manage the social aspects of personal health. This is a huge hole in our current health system, mostly because social services exist largely outside of it. It’s an area that’s getting increasing attention as we critically assess US spending on healthcare vs. social services and how it relates to outcomes and aggregate costs. Healthify also announced closing a $500,000 round of funding last week.


Filament Labs raises $1 million. The funding comes from Mercury, Corinthian Health, Arcadia Home Care, and a solid group of angel investors. The core product is Patient IO, a customizable digital care plan platform for both providers and patients. I think the initial focus and success has been in infusion care, but I imagine Filament will be expanding to other care plans.

Congrats to AirStrip, who keeps up the good news by winning the TripleTree iAward for Connected Health.

There seem to be a lot of telederm vendors out there, some as only regional players. I saw this story on DermUtopia, which covers Virginia and Maryland. There doesn’t seem to be anything unique about it, but I love the description of how the services work: "DermUtopia’s online dermatologists can review and examine patient case studies along with patient uploaded ‘selfies’ and respond within 72 hours." Selfies is used throughout the press release. It’s nice to see that term making its way into the mainstream.


Speaking of telederm, if you go a bit north from Maryland (the area that DermUtopia covers), you’ll be able to DermatologistOnCall, a new telederm service that is working with Allegheny Health. This is another online tool for patients to complete questionnaires and send photos (or selfies!) for a dermatologist consult. This service is from a company called Iagnosis, which raised money earlier this year.


SolveBio is creating an API for genetics data and data sets. The goal is to make it easy to integrate these huge and growing sets of genetics data into applications. It seems like a winner of a concept and some blue chip funds like Andreessen and SV Angel invested in a new $2 million round of funding for the company.

A new Indiegogo campaign is looking to crowdfund the development of a device that can record and store sounds from any stethoscope. Remote monitoring and specialty care access are good use cases, but I’m just a bit doubtful that the campaign will reach its goal of $60,000. Also, are other people out there that use crowdfunding sites seeing huge missed deadlines for products? I’ve seen a couple that are months behind and it seems to be the norm.

A Kenyan startup, backed by Microsoft, is attempting to improve maternal and child care by providing a platform to better track vaccine and medication usage. There details are a bit lacking, but I imagine that helping rural health clinics become better at managing inventories, as well as having better access to information about services for patients, helps the overall care. Interesting to see Microsoft backing this, but I guess it makes sense since the whole platform runs on MS products and services.

A new teleneurology study published by the VA in New Mexico finds that patients like teleneurology and providers feel it is equivalent to in-person care. This confirms earlier studies and is starting to be accepted as common thinking in the industry.

More evidence. A VA study finds that eICU care does not improve mortality or length of stay. The study looked at ICUs before and after implementing telecare.

Anybody headed to the mHealth Summit Middle East in Abu Dhabi next week? I wish I was.


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

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