Five disruptive telehealth startups to watch highlighting how telehealth is changing the face of healthcare delivery and the innovative startups behind it.
Haven’t heard the rumblings of the telehealth movement yet? Chances are, you will. Telehealth and its technologies are set to change the face of healthcare delivery as we know it, both in the US and abroad. It’s a bold declaration but not an inaccurate one to make.
When it comes to meeting today’s healthcare challenges, telehealth holds a great deal of promise, as pointed out by Nirav Desai, CEO of Hands on Telehealth, in his guest post last month. Telehealth is placing proactive, preventative, and curative tools into the hands of medical providers via telecommunication platforms and mobile devices—with the potential to create greater access to care while cutting the costs to deliver it. But is telehealth worthy of early adoption, as Desai suggested?
With care demands on the rise, and the supply to meet them dwindling, telehealth may just be the umbrella needed to weather what Desai described as the perfect storm. Soon, the aging baby boomer population will lower its boom on the US healthcare system, taxing its resources in unprecedented numbers. According to the US Census Bureau, the senior population will comprise 55 million Americans (ages 65+) in the year 2020; it’s projected that 12 million will require long term care by then.
Seeking solutions to soften that impending blow now may not be such a bad idea after all. Still, telehealth and its potential go beyond assisting the elderly. From reaching out and serving the underserved to putting tools in the hands of patients themselves, telehealth startups are quickly emerging to disrupt, and perhaps later dominate, the market.
As a result, we at HIT Consultant wanted to learn more about the innovators behind what’s quickly becoming a transformative movement in care delivery. Thanks to the help of Desai (who contributed startups 3-5), we came up with a short list of telehealth startups to keep your eye on.
Here are five disruptive telehealth startups to watch:
Founded in 2009 by Kian Saneii, Independa, Inc. was formed with the vision to serve the growing aging population with solutions that maintain senior health and independent living. To date, the private San Diego-based company has raised nearly $2 million in venture capital.
Over the last three years, Independa has created a suite of cloud-based solutions for healthcare organizations, home care professionals, and family caregivers to serve seniors at home or in home care settings. Its Caregiver Web App provides caregivers with access to a variety of information regarding a recipient’s care (including medication requirements, appointment schedules, daily activities, and biometric data) via its dashboard panel, which is accessible both by desktop/laptop computers and tablets.
In addition, its Angela, a tablet-operated companion tool, connects the care receiver to their health as well as the outside world. Aside from its medication and calendar reminders, Angela has games, photos, email, text, chat, and Internet access to promote social engagement.
After experiencing the challenges of managing around-the-clock home care for his mother, Robert M. Herzog founded eCaring, a rapidly growing home care management and monitoring company. The privately held New York-based company was selected as the winner of Startupalooza’s 2012 Entrepreneur’s Market Place: a showcase of startups in healthcare, high-tech, and digital media sectors.
eCaring’s web-based system consists of several tools that monitor a care recipient’s health, behavior, and state of mind in real time. For example, its CarePortrait provides a snapshot synopsis of a care recipient’s activities, medication schedule, and behavioral conditions throughout the day and/or week. Additional tools that comprise eCaring’s system include its CareTracker, CareJournal, and CareAlerts. A payroll module to record care giver wages and work schedules is also in the works.
Happtique is a digital platform for the management, certification, and prescribing of health apps.
Happtique uses an extensive app categorization system that helps healthcare professionals and patients quickly find health applications that suit their care needs. Healthcare entities can create their own custom app store with a pre-approved formulary of apps for employers to safely download or for physicians to “prescribe” to patients, using the company’s patent pending mRx™ technology. In July 2012, Happtique announced that it would soon begin to assess the operability, privacy, security, and content of health apps through its App Certification Program.
If that’s not enough app info, you can tune into their weekly Internet radio show mHealth Zone where Happtique’s CEO Ben Chodor and President Corey Ackerman discuss all things mobile health.
Shaking up things abroad is SevaMob, a startup based in India providing affordable insurance and primary healthcare to those on the lower end of the economic spectrum. Founder Shelley Saxena, who has managed several multi-million dollar projects for IBM, used intellectual property from his own Atlanta-based tech startup to bootstrap SevaMob’s launch last year.
For a small monthly subscription, the company provides primary healthcare and insurance to low income consumers through its teams of doctors and sales reps in the field; each carries an Android tablet with SevaMob’s proprietary software that can operate with or without network in remote areas. Those teams are supported by part-time doctors, a 24/7 call center, and a network of third-party service providers, including hospitals, clinics, pathologists, and insurance companies.
SevaMob is both disrupting and transforming how healthcare and insurance is delivered in the developing world. Saxena recently received his first outside investment, a $50,000 convertible note from Village Capital, to expand SevaMob into other districts of India and Africa, according to Impact IQ.
SC Healthcare is a provider of solutions for general and critical access hospitals, physician practices, as well as assisted care, long-term care, and skilled nursing facilities. This Atlanta, GA-based startup is offering some inventive technologies that complement more traditional telehealth solutions.
Released in 2011, its JEMS app allows healthcare practitioners to view live medical consultations via smartphones. The app enables greater communication between physicians to improve care and/or creates care access in otherwise challenging care environments, such as correctional institutions.
The company is also making inroads into addressing behavioral health needs with its SimpleC Companion, a touch screen technology that promotes memory, engagement, and better communication for seniors without the use of medications. The technology strives to conjure up positive memories and calm care recipients through familiar and pleasing images, such as family photographs, or through meaningful audio pieces like music and personal messages recorded by family members.
This digital memory box, as the Simple C Companion has been described, shows promise in helping patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s with memory recall.
After taking a closer look at these startups, the possibilities for telehealth seem infinite and its potential undeniable. How telehealth will unfold to impact healthcare remains to be seen, but we’ll be watching out for it. Will you?
Featured image credit: mahara.umeedu.maine.edu