It’s no wonder why there is an explosion in health and fitness startups? The world today is obsessed with getting healthier and becoming more fit. Until just a few years back jogging, running, walking, lifting weights were all measured arbitrarily. Even if you used a treadmill to run, you were happy to have the distance, speed, and heart rate measured for those 20 minutes of the day. You’d feel great thinking about the health benefits those 20 minutes brought to your body, but the rest of the day you went about doing your regular chores. Fast forward to this day, there are thousands of health and fitness trackers available on your smartphone and as wristbands, smartwatches, and other wearables that relentlessly measure every step you take and every move you make. There are apps that offer health check-ups around the clock. And then there are ones that monitor heart rate, sugar levels, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and even sleeping and eating patterns 24/7.
You don’t have to be in a hospital today, standing in a queue to consult a doctor for your health concerns. Technology has made it possible for us to instantly get in touch with a medical expert online irrespective of where we are. We can immediately get access to some of the world’s best doctors and nurses with just a few taps on our mobile device. From medical files, reports and paper prescriptions, the healthcare industry has transformed to become data-driven — continuously collecting data from our bodies, our food consumption, and our environment. Getting a personalized health report is now possible at the click of a button. This new health care model reduces cost, saves time, lets us predict and prevent an illness at an early stage and most importantly opens up a world of medical advice and treatment in the comfort of our home.
While technology is driving health care to become easily accessible to common folk, it is also comforting to know that scientists are making several medical breakthroughs in finding cures for serious diseases by studying patient history and data. Most doctors and nurses actively use mobile phones and handheld computers to record patient data, keep a tab on the history of complaints and are able to study the progress over a long period of time.
From an investment point of view, the space for digital health and fitness startups has been particularly compelling for investors to plow their money into. Compared to 2016, there’s a 27 percent rise in the money raised by digital health and fitness startups in 2017. As per the StartUp Health Insights year-end report health-care startups have raised $11.5 billion in 2017 and this number is bound to go up in the years to come.
Some of these digital health and fitness startups are leading the way and doing everything they can to enhance patient-doctor relationships and health systems while also raising a lot of money along the way. Let’s look at some of the startups that are right on the pulse when it comes to healthcare technology.
Take a deep breath, relax, meditate and sleep. That is the mission at Calm — to make sure the world is happy, healthy, and able to rest well. Today, fitness doesn’t just imply physical fitness but also a good mental state of mind. Our social and psychological wellbeing is talked about as much as our physical lifestyle. Calm has created digital products that enhance mental health and solve very basic mental health issues of modern times like depression, stress, sleeplessness, anxiety etc. With over 26 million downloads, their app is considered the best for mindfulness and wellness.
2. The Human Diagnosis Project
There are millions and millions of people around the world who do not have access to basic medical help. In the United States, many Americans are dependent on community health centers and free clinics to treat illness. These health centers don’t always get reliable, fast access to specialist care for the uninsured, resulting in more emergencies and hospitalizations. And for Americans who are not insured, treatment becomes delayed and unaffordable.
The Human Diagnosis Project (Human Dx) has created an online system led by global medical experts that helps patients quickly consult and get a specialist opinion. This startup is set out to make medical consultation affordable, relevant and quick by bringing together collective physician intelligence under one system. This system supports physicians themselves to exchange medical insights with each other. Several safety net clinics and medical centers in the U.S. have already partnered with the company for electronic consultations.
The human body is made up of trillions of microorganisms. And uBiome might be the company that helps you make sense of those bacteria and the part they play in your overall wellness. There are several human conditions that are related to the human microbiome like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. uBiome is the first and only Big Data company focused on understanding the human microbiome through machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced data analytics. uBiome will test the microbes in your sample once, or track your microbiome over a period of time.
4. Care at Hand
Doctor visits are expensive but hospitalizations can leave a deep hole in the pocket. Care at Hand is a digital health company that uses a predictive model to check on hospitalization risks by studying doctor visits and observations made by the frontline nonmedical staff. And because the nonmedical staff are able to spend more time with the patient and cost less, it is a win-win situation for all. They also provide a smart survey that identifies and takes into consideration all the risks factors for hospitalization. The mission here is to avoid unnecessary stays in the hospital and help people thrive in the comfort of their own homes.
5. MD Insider
Don’t we all want the most accurate medical treatment at the most affordable cost? But how do you pick your physician? MD Insider is all set out to answer that question for you. This company has brought together a world-class team of data scientists, engineers, and medical experts on a platform to objectively assess a doctors performance. Understanding a doctor’s performance is significant not just for the overall patient experience but also to analyze cost and quality of care.
So, how do they actually manage to analyze thousands of physicians? MD Insider is continuously processing large performance data from thousands of institutions and millions of doctors based on their interactions with patients and other medical events. This information is then analyzed using machine learning systems to identify key physicians in areas of quality and experience. These unique insights are available as data sheets or as consumer-friendly tidbits to help people match their needs with the right doctor.
6. Human API
This digital health company makes it possible to find, share and make sense of the health information from everywhere. Using Human API, patients can share real-time data from medical reports, devices, labs etc and also be connected to a pool of wellness data. The Human API platform is used by several research centers for medical studies and outcome. One such example is the University of California, San Francisco, which has integrated with Human API to conduct clinical studies. And it has currently empowered more than 200,000 patients from around the country to share their health records, plans, and device data for medical research.
In the end, it is exciting to see the impact of technology on healthcare and see an explosion of interesting startups in the medical space. All of the startups we discussed today are focused on empowering consumers to be in charge of their own health and wellness. Today, it’s incredible that this revolution is available to all of us as an app on our handheld device.
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