News for the Week of 9/5/14


Propeller Health (formerly Asthmapolis) raises $14.5 million Series B. The round was led by Safeguard Scientifics. This brings the company’s total to over $20 million. As part of the announcement, Chris Hogg is also joining as COO and running the new Propeller San Francisco office. Chris was co-founder of 100Plus, which was acquired by Practice Fusion, and has been doing analytics at Practice Fusion since then. I think he ran the team that created the PracticeFusion insights website. I’ve been a big Propeller fan for years and it’s great to see them growing and succeeding.


Tonic Health announces that Elsevier will sell Tonic as a compliment to its product line. Tonic offers simple data collection tools for patients with a focus on mobile data collection. I would have bet on the company years ago when I first learned about them, and from what I hear, things are going well for them.

There’s a new health accelerator in San Francisco called Launchpad. It’s a little bit different than other accelerates in that it is one year long and invests $200-$400k in each company. It recently announced its first class of five startups, listed below:

  • AddApp uses data collected from sensors and apps to provide insights into individuals’ activity.
  • LyfeChannel creates mobile apps to make doctor instructions more interactive and help connect patients to providers.
  • Medable helps developers create "medical grade" apps.
  • QueueDr is a service to help providers fill open appointment slots last minute.
  • is a virtual decision support system that uses avatars to help assess patients and provide clinical guidance.

I wasn’t aware the VA was launching its own app store. According to this article on a few new mobile apps the VA is building, as well as telehealth at the VA, the VA app store will go live this fall. The VA has a growing list of mobile apps for veterans.


DreamsCloud raises $2 million in its first round of funding. DreamsCloud allows people to capture dreams and have them interpreted for free online. Understanding your dreams can apparently improve overall health and happiness. I’ve been using the Shadow app for recording dreams and reading dreams from others. It’s a fascinating concept.


Avizia raises $2 million. The company makes a telemedicine cart that uses Telepresence technology from Cisco.

Medalogix raises $5 million in a Series A. The Nashville-based company offers a platform to reduce readmissions by analyzing data on discharge patients to identify those at increased risk and enable targeted interventions. I think that platform description is pretty generic for most or all readmission prevention tools.

With Apple playing the data steward card with its move into healthcare, any press about security and Apple is going to get big coverage. With recent news that celebrities had their iCloud accounts hacked, Apple is getting more scrutiny about storing health data. The celebrity account attacks were targeted attacks and I don’t think it’s an indication that Apple systems are insecure. With Apple moving into healthcare, it’s all about liability if something happens. Is Apple liable or are the covered entities that work with them? Or the developers and vendors, like Epic, that integrate with Apple?

Google-funded health company Calico forms a long-term strategic partnership with pharma company AbbVie. The 10-year agreement, with companies committing up to $1.5 billion collectively, will build and operate a shared research and development facility in San Francisco. It will be focused on developing treatments for age-related conditions, which is fitting as that is Calico’s mission. I’m curious to see what Calico ends up developing – $750 million in funding will certainly give it some time to figure it out.


After AirStrip’s recent news of $25 million in new funding, the company announces a new telehealth initiative with Dignity Health in California. For the project, Dignity providers will use AirStrip as the aggregated data source to do telestroke and teleICU care.

I’m fascinated by the changes in the practice of medicine resulting from changes in the healthcare system generally. This is an awesome article, adapted from a recent book, on physician burnout. It walks through a lot of the historical system changes that have affected physician satisfaction. I often wonder how patient engagement, accountable care, consumerization, and other tech-enabled trends will affect physicians in practice. The doctors I talk to most are much more on the tech-friendly end of the spectrum; I just wonder about the rest. It was really sad this week when a young physician friend, one of the most compassionate ones I know, texted me that he had no patience for sick people. He quickly followed up that text to say he couldn’t believe he’d thought that, and never imagined that he’d be burned out so quickly after residency.


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

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