Posts tagged Digital Health
Junto Profile: Nicotrax

We all know how difficult it is to quit smoking. Whether we have learned through mass media campaigns, watching friends or family members battle addiction, or battled addiction ourselves, the health consequences of smoking are not unknown. Sixteen million people in the United States live with smoking-related diseases. However, despite the public perception of smoking as dangerous and harmful, 34.3 million people in the United States still smoke.

A major reason that many people continue to smoke is because quitting is incredibly difficult. Only 4-7% of people who attempt to quit smoking are able to do so once-and-for-all. Many Americans have spent decades formulating this addictive habit, and despite their doctors’ warnings, various treatment programs, and their family’s pleadings, they simply cannot stop.

Enter Nicotrax. Nicotrax uses digital technology to optimize the efficacy of smoking therapeutics. Using Artificial Intelligence, Nicotrax personalizes treatment plans for smokers, allowing them to quit faster and more cost-effectively. At the frontier of digital health, Nicotrax gives smokers hope that quitting is possible.

We spoke with the Kyle Linton, CEO of Nicotax, to learn more about Nicotrax’s innovative approach to therapeutics for those who smoke.

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Three Lessons that Digital Health Can Learn From Biotech

In 2019, we can expect to hear a lot from two of the investment community’s favorite industries: digital health and biotechnology. Both industries experienced record-breaking years in 2018. Globally, over $11 billion was invested in biotechnology companies in 2018 despite a challenging Q4, shattering the previous record set in 2015. On the digital health side, $3.49 billion was invested in digital health startups in the US, equivalent to the annual National Healthcare Expenditure. 

 However, while these two industries are similar in their sustained growth and promise, they sit at very different stages in their maturity. Since the introduction of recombinant DNA in 1976, the biotech industry has seen enormous growth, and its innovations have become an integral component of our daily lives. In modern society, we are wholly dependent on genetically-engineered innovations and pharmaceuticals that biotech brought forth. Biotech has become ubiquitous, and often governs our lives in ways we can’t easily identify. From the medications we take, to the food we eat, to the detergent we clean with, and the plastics and fabrics we use, biotechnology innovation touches many facets of our daily routines.

Conversely, digital health just recently (<10 years) emerged as a profitable venture following the most recent tech boom that has led to rapid  mobile app development, increased prevalence of data analytics, and the commercialization of personal IoT devices. Unlike biotech, we have yet to see digital health bee universally adopted. While companies such as Apple are pushing for the commercialization of digital health with moves such as integrating ECG capabilities into their newest Apple Watch, many hospitals and clinics are just beginning to implement digital health products into their workflows. Digital health is still an infant industry, but is full of potential. 

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Junto Profile: Lyra Health

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental or neurological disorder in their life.

Additionally, mental health-related issues prevail as the leading cause of poor health and disability across the globe, impacting more than 450 million people. Clearly, there is an imminent need for widespread mental health services- across the globe. This need introduces an opportunity for the digital health world to design technologies for mental health and therapies.

Many people do not realize how difficult it is to find the right mental health professional. In her piece “How to Find the Right Therapist”, New York Times author Marissa Miller explains that seeking out a therapist is like “dating”, and that a fabulous therapist for one individual is not effective match for another individual. Miller recounts her process of asking for recommendations from friends, only to find that her friend’s recommendations did not suit her needs. Miller explains that it took her three years to find the correct mental health professional for herself.

What if technology could be used to increase the speed and efficacy of therapist matching to help people like Miller? Lyra Health does just that. Headquartered in Burlingame, California, Lyra Health uses a digital match-making process to match individuals to the right kind of treatment, and the correct professional for their specific needs. We spoke with Amelia Gilbert, Director of Partnerships at Lyra Health, to understand how Lyra is using technology to increase the efficacy of mental health care.

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Patient Protection in the Era of the Doctorpreneur

The term “doctorpreneur” has been coined by the media to refer to the ambitious group of doctors who are disrupting the healthcare industry with innovation solutions to pervasive problems. Over the years, the medical community has earned its place in the startup world, proving that it’s not just computer scientists and engineers who can innovate in the 21st century. In the past 20 years, the number of joint MD-MBA programs in the United States has grown from just 6 programs to more than 70. Even those without an MBA degree are finding the allure of the business and tech world intriguing and have sidelined their professional medical practices to pursue healthcare business ventures.

The concept of having doctors design health tech solutions for fellow clinicians makes perfect sense on many levels. No one has better insight into the needs of clinicians and patients than medical professionals themselves, as they are the individuals who regularly experience the challenges these solutions seek to overcome. The perspective that doctors hold in regards to the inner workings of the healthcare system is one which even an experienced business professional is unlikely to ever gain.

While the success of the physician-founded startup is promising, it also introduces new challenges to patient protection. This new frontier introduces greater complexity to questions surrounding physicians involvement with business endeavors, and specifically, how doctors balance corporate financial and advisory roles alongside their role as unbiased care providers.

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Junto Profile: Ride Health

When we think “quality of care”, we typically think of the safety and efficacy of services provided inside of the hospital. We evaluate hospitals and other institutions of care based on their ability to tend to patients’ needs once they step through the doors of a medical building. But what if a patient doesn’t have the resources to arrive at the hospital to begin with?

Rural populations, senior citizens, and children face the challenge of procuring a ride to their appointment, greatly jeopardizing their health and wellness. If vulnerable groups are unable to access care due to transportation barriers, the “quality of care” they would receive inside the hospital is irrelevant. 

According to the American Hospital Association, 3.6 million people are unable to access care services due to transportation issues. For senior citizens, lack of transportation is the third most common cause of missed medical appointments. 

Enter Ride Health, a digital platform partnering with medical centers such as Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, to provide ride-scheduling services for patients who would otherwise lack transportation. Ride Health was founded in 2016 by Imran Cronk and Suman Khetpal and is focused on using on-demand ride technology to help connect together patients, providers, insurers, and drivers as a means of overcoming transportation barriers. The HIPPAA-compliant, web-based, user-friendly interface allows medical staff to schedule patients with both on-demand ride services, and non-emergency medical transportation, in advance of appointments.

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Junto Profile: MindCotine

According to the CDC, adult Americans have decreased their smoking habits from 20.9% in 2005, to 15.5% in 2016. However, cigarette smoking continues to be the leading cause of death among preventable diseases in the United States. An estimated 37.8 million Americans still smoke, resulting in 480,000 deaths every year. Public Health professionals continue to assess the efficacy of health initiatives targeted at breaking cigarette addiction; however, no one strategy has emerged as a clear solution.

Classic smoking intervention models such as the Truth Campaign and the CDC’s various national campaigns have been able to make dents into the number of smokers in the U.S., but few technology focused interventions have risen through the ranks.

When we came across biomedical engineer-turned-CEO, Nicolas Rosencovich, and his innovative solution to breaking cigarette addiction: MindCotine we were intrigued to learn more about the vision he had for integrating smoking cessation principles with the technology advancements. MindCotine uses virtual reality technology to help break cigarette smoking addiction. For $50, those battling cigarette addiction can purchase a kit, which combines virtual reality and Mindfulness-based Exposure Therapy, to help cigarette smokers gain insight and learn hope to cope with nicotine addiction. While virtual reality may not be the ideal solution for every user and population segmentation, the design principles and global approach that Nicolas has taken with his company most definitely provides a unique perspective about the potential for cutting-edge technology to be integrated with classic therapeutic and psychological principles.

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Junto Profile: Henry Health

In the United States, 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition, but 56% of these individuals are not currently receiving appropriate treatment. African Americans have been seen to be 20% more likely than Caucasian Americans to report experiencing significant psychological distress, however they use mental health services at only ½ the rate of their white counterparts.

Henry Health was founded in 2017 and has set the goal of adding 10 years to the life expectancy of black men within the next 25 years through mental health awareness, treatment, and destigmatization. Filled with ambition, drive, and passion, the Henry Health team stands out as a health technology company that is aiming to improve the lives of at-risk individuals and potentially help turn the tide on startling downward trends in life expectancy rates and health outcomes seen amongst African Americans throughout the country. 

We recently interviewed their founder, Kevin Dedner, so we could hear more about the work that Henry Health is doing and their newly launched telehealth platform.

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