30 disruptive healthcare companies to watch
Healthcare is ripe with opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs. Mobile health, sophisticated consumer expectations, data transparency and preference for on-demand services at a flat fee have ushered in a class of companies that resist the status quo.
These companies have created pill bottles that glow blue when it's time to take your daily dose, an app that connects you with a therapist in a single text, and a database that harnesses the wisdom of crowds to more quickly and efficiently solve complicated medical cases. And that's not all.
Here are 30 disrupting healthcare today. They're worth keeping an eye on.
1. AdhereTech. This New York City-based healthcare firm creates adherence tools, such as a smart pill bottle that tracks medication adherence in real-time. At the optimal time to take medicine, the bottle turns blue. If it isn't opened, it turns red and begins to beep. The bottle also analyzes the patient's pill usage to see if they miss dosages. If so, AdhereTech's system issues reminders via text message or phone call.
2. BetterDoctor. BetterDoctor, based in San Francisco, is a comprehensive physician search tool. The company's web and mobile apps allow users to search more than 1 million physicians, dentists and specialists. Its rating system analyzes education, experience and other measurable factors to identify the best providers. Since the launch in 2012, BetterDoctor web and mobile apps have helped 20 million patients find the right physician, according to AngelList.
3. Breakthrough. Based in Redwood City, Calif., Breakthrough offers online therapy, mental health services and teletherapy. Patients can browse through the company's list of providers and watch introductory videos to find an appropriate mental health provider. Patients can meet with a therapist virtually anytime, including nights and weekends, when most traditional therapists aren't available for in-person appointments. Breakthrough also offers personalized one-to-one training to help providers develop an effective online presence.
4. Candescent Health. This cloud-based technology startup is based in the Boston area with a major operations center in Cleveland. Founded by Scott Seidelmann, the company strives to "to connect the right radiologist to the right patient at the right time" through its software-enabled service, RadPerform. RadPerform integrates with hospital EMRs and picture archiving and communication systems and organizes the radiologists' work. Last year, Candescent announced a partnership with Cleveland Clinic aimed at transforming radiology care at the clinic by improving quality standards, enhancing workflow and creating an efficient nationwide cloud-based radiology network through its RadPerform platform.
5. CrossChx. This Columbus, Ohio-based startup was founded in 2012 by CEO Sean Lane and President Brad Mascho. The company creates unique patient identifiers, which are then tied to the patient's medical records. The company also uses a fingerprint reader installed at every point of registration throughout a health system. According to the company's website, CrossChx has partnered with more than 250 health systems nationwide, protecting more than 36 million patient identities.
6. CrowdMed. CrowdMed launched in April 2013 and has helped solve hundreds of medical cases. The San Francisco-based startup that harnesses the wisdom of crowds to more quickly and efficiently solve complicated medical cases. Founded by veteran technology entrepreneur Jared Heyman, CrowdMed allows patients to submit symptoms and other relevant data so online participants can suggest likely diagnoses based on their own knowledge and experience. Patients can use this information to work with their physician and obtain proper treatment.
7. Curbside Care. Philadelphia-based Curbside Care coordinates on-demand, in-person house calls via mobile and web-based applications. The technology platform bridges a market of fragmented supply and untapped demand by connecting off-shift physicians and nurse practitioners to patient users in real time. The company was co-founded by Grant Mitchell, a former healthcare consultant at McKinsey. Mr. Mitchell previously co-founded AdhereTech, which is focused on improving medication adherence via smart pill bottles.
8. DispatchHealth. DispatchHealth, formerly True North Health Navigation, is a Denver-based startup whose goal is "to provide quality, convenient mobile and virtual healthcare." Designed to compliment physicians and home healthcare, the is working to seize that market opportunity outside the hospital walls by offering consumers a physician house call service through mobile tools like the iPad. Mobile practitioners with DispatchHealth visit homes with lab testing capabilities, and they also administer IV medications and antibiotics, and repair lacerations and splint injured extremities.
9. FIGS. FIGS, which stands for "fashion inspires global sophistication," is a Los Angeles-based medical apparel company that launched in 2012. With functionality, fabrication and fit in mind, the company designs scrubs using high-quality antimicrobial fabrics, and offers separate designs for men and women. All scrubs include pockets. On the FIGS website, customers may purchase scrubs in a variety of colors, such as black, midnight blue and purple, as well as lab coats. FIGS will begin selling long sleeve shirts, vests and fleeces this fall. Additionally, for every set of scrubs sold, FIGS gives a set to a healthcare provider in need through its threads for threads initiative. Overall, FIGS has donated more than 75,000 sets of scrubs in 26 countries around the world.
10. Gamgee. This Palo Alto, Calif.-based mobile health startup, led by former Epocrates chief technology officer Bob Quinn, seeks to improve patient engagement with voice-enabled technology. Its 22otters app helps patients prepare for a colonoscopy by providing a list of daily tasks keep patients on-task and on-time with their procedure prep. Through the app, patients receive easy-to-follow steps and timed reminders with accompanying audio and visual displays. The company, funded by Khosla Ventures, raised $2 million in May 2014.
11. Glow. About two years ago, San Francisco-based Glow launched an eponymous reproductive health app with help from big-name backer Max Levchin, a PayPal co-founder. Glow's menstrual and ovulation calculator helps women learn about their fertility, whether avoiding or attempting pregnancy. Glow is an ovulation calculator that also records your period, mood, symptoms, sex and medications; it also predicts a woman's fertility and assists those undergoing fertility treatments like IVF or IUI.
12. Heal. Co-founded by Renee Dua, MD, and her husband Nick Desai, Heal is an app-based service for on-demand house calls. The company, with locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County, Calif., promises to bring a licensed pediatrician or family physician to your home in less than 60 minutes. The price for the house call: a flat fee of $99. A medical assistant does the driving and parking.
13. Hometeam. This New York City-based startup offers personalized in-home senior care. Founded by Josh Bruno, a former investor at Bain Ventures, in 2013, Hometeam provides an iPad for each home so families can communicate with caregivers via texts, pictures and medical updates. As of September 2015, the company had sent 250 caregivers into homes throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, according to Forbes. The company plans to more than double its size in 2016.
14. LifeDojo. San Francisco-based LifeDojo works to reduces chronic disease through online behavioral change interventions. The company's corporate wellness platform offers both physical and mental health programs, including those about exercise, nutrition, stress management and happiness. Every program includes live coaching, action steps to improve specific health habits and support tools. Employers use LifeDojo to compliment or serve as the backbone of their wellness programs.
15. Lucro Marketplace. Founded in 2014, Lucro, whose healthcare solutions marketplace is backed by Martin Ventures, allows healthcare leaders to communicate and collaborate with peers for innovative solutions. Bruce Brandes, founder and CEO of Lucro, said at a company unveiling in November 2015 that the concept of Lucro is "to create a multisided platform to allow buyers and sellers to connect in a private way to get insights about the facts of what a particular company does." As of November 2015, Lucro had about1,000 hospitals in its early adopter network. Members of the network have access to Lucro's catalog of companies — both emerging and established — and their products, the ability to create project boards where users can "pin" individual projects and ideas into one comprehensive solution.
16. Medalogix. Medalogix, a healthcare technology company based in Nashville, Tenn., provides analytics, workflows and business intelligence solutions to home health and hospice providers. Founded in 2012 by former home health agency owner Dan Hogan, the company has three software solutions: Touch, which helps decrease transfers to inpatient facilities, Bridge, which helps identify and inform patients who would benefit from hospice care, and Nurture, which allows providers to engage current and former patients who need additional episodes of care. Medalogix's predictive analytics have been recognized by Harvard University and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society as an innovative solution in healthcare.
17. Medicast. Launched in June 2013, Mountain View, Calif.-based Medicast touts itself as the world's only mobile-first logistics and management platform for on-demand care delivery. The platform caters to hospitals and health systems that want to effectively deliver home health services. Medicast includes custom branded mobile apps for patients and providers as well as care coordinator and administrator dashboards. Medicast is modular, so it can be deployed throughout an organization based on specific needs.
18. MediSafe. MediSafe, an Israeli medical software startup that relocated its headquarters to Boston, is a cloud-synced medication management platform. Inspired by the accidental insulin overdose of its co-founders' diabetic father, MediSafe's intuitive, singularly designed mobile app was first to sync medication reminders between devices of families and caregivers. The platform alerts users when it's time to take a medication, and tracks progress related to measurements such as blood pressure and glucose levels to show the direct health benefit of taking medications as prescribed. Your Med-Friend (family member or caretaker) is notified if you don't check in that you took your medication, so they can remind you to take your drugs if needed.
19. MedWand. MedWand, a handheld telemedicine physical examination device created by Las Vegas-based MedWand Solutions, allows physicians to examine patients and remotely gather important medical vitals via secure Internet channels on tablets and personal computers. A set of fundamental vital sign measurement and examination devices are integrated into the single wand, which is about the size of a large electric toothbrush. It includes a pulse oximeter, cameras for ear, eye, throat and nose examinations, an in-ear thermometer, a digital stethoscope, and provision to support optional third-party devices such as glucose meters or blood pressure monitors. MedWand also can assemble all measurements and required information into a secure electronic patient record.
20. MedZed. MedZed, an Atlanta-based at-home pediatric care service, serves children ages 2 to 17 with common symptoms such as rashes, cold and flu, sore throat and eye or ear pain through a house-call service. Through secure live-streaming video and advanced medical technology, pediatricians can evaluate, diagnose and treat symptoms with the assistance of an on-site pediatric nurse in the patient's home. A confidential, protected patient portal also allows pediatricians to easily access patient records and send prescriptions straight to the customer's preferred pharmacy. MedZed's pediatric nurses and pediatricians operate after normal office hours, seven days a week.
21. Oscar Health. New York City-based Oscar compares its service to Spotify, Airbnb and Uber — but for health insurance. The company uses technology to guide patients to better care and help them keep track of their health. Its app allows users to search for and virtually meet with physicians, who can check their symptoms. Oscar subscribers also receive a free wearable fitness tracker and earn $1 for each day they reach a targeted number of steps. The payouts are sent monthly via an Amazon gift card and users can earn up to $240 per year.
22. Pager. An experienced group of serial entrepreneurs from successful startups such as Uber, Teladoc, Gilt and Buzzfeed launched this New York City-based startup in 2014. While other startups make it possible for customers to find and book physician appointments more easily by computer or phone, Pager tries to take the process further by sending physicians to your home, office or hotel within two hours to treat your urgent care needs, and all for a flat fee. A first-time urgent care visit is $50, a physical is $100 and a phone consultation $25. The service finds and verifies physicians for its network and bills the user automatically over a linked credit card.
23. PillPack. PillPack is a full service pharmacy, with its distribution center in Manchester, N.H., and engineering and marketing teams in Somerville, Mass. The startup focuses on medication compliance by sending patient's prescriptions already organized in individual dose packs rather than individual pill bottles. PillPack's services are currently available in 47 states.
24. Project io. This image processing company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., gives smartphone holders the ability to scan and size objects in real time on a mass scale. The company's app, called Anaken, allows users to scan the patient's residual limb and complementary limb, so amputees can ensure a better fitting prosthetic. Part of Project io's goal is to help trauma victims have easy and affordable access to well-fitting prosthetics with equipment they most likely already own, such as a smartphone or tablet.
25. RetraceHealth. Minneapolis-based RetraceHealth was founded by Thompson Aderinkomi after his wife's 1-year-old went to the physician four times over the course of one month. The series of visits cost Mr. Aderinkomi's family more than $600. Frustrated by this, Mr. Aderinkomi founded RetraceHealth on the premise that no one should have to endure the mental anguish of not taking their child to the physician or have to wait an hour just to be sent home to wait it out. A RetraceHealth nurse practitioner consults with patients via video for $50, and only visits the home if hands-on care — like a throat swab or blood draw — is necessary, for $150.
26. Sherpaa. Co-founded by Jay Parkinson, MD, and experienced human resources worker Cheryl Swirnow, Soho, N.Y.-based Sherpaa has staff physicians who give medical advice and treat clients' employees via mobile app. Through the app, users may send a message to a physician to see if an emergency room visit is necessary. If their issue is less serious, they may receive a diagnosis and prescriptions. The company also provides information about alternative treatments that are covered — or aren't covered — by the individual's insurance. As of May 2014, the company had more than 100 customers and clients.
27. SkinVision. This startup, based in Amsterdam, offers a unique mobile app that allows users to check and track their skin health. With SkinVision, users can take a photo of a mole, archive the photo and compare images over time to see if changes occur. The app can read the photo of a mole to determine the potential for melanoma or other skin disorders. Users may download the app and have full access to every feature, including a database of local dermatologists to schedule an appointment.
28. SnapMD. Founded in 2013, Glendale, Calif.-based SnapMD offers a cloud-based telemedicine service with HIPAA-compliant encrypted video, audio and messaging. Using SnapMD's Connected Care telemedicine platform, healthcare providers can conduct scheduled virtual consultations for patients receiving ongoing treatment. The SnapMD features allow physicians to write prescriptions, file insurance claims, verify health plan coverage, determine co-pays, read data from peripheral diagnostic devices and view medication history, among other things. Providers can also conduct on-demand consultations to help reduce avoidable visits in urgent care or emergency room settings, provide in-school virtual clinics and collaborate physician-to-physician.
29. Talkspace. Through New York City-based online and mobile startup Talkspace, a therapist is a text away. The chat-based platform connects people to licensed therapists, allowing them to seek counseling alone or in group messaging sessions. The process involves using data and analysis to find the right therapists based on an introductory assessment. The platform then uses semantic analysis to gain insights about a users' personality, thinking style and emotional stress to determine the right therapist to work with a patient. Talkspace currently has more than 100,000 users.
30. Zest Health. Founded in 2013, Zest Health is a venture-backed mHealth startup in Chicago. The company's cloud-based platform, mobile apps and personalized concierge service provide members access to their benefit information, price transparency, healthcare consumption and telemedicine. Zest Health was incubated at 7wire Ventures and co-founded by 7wire Managing Partners Glen Tullman and Lee Shapiro, former Allscripts executives, as well as Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, co-founders of Groupon, Echo Global Logistics, MediaOcean, Uptake Technologies and other technology companies.
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