Disruptive healthcare companies to watch in 2017

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.

Here are 11 companies disrupting healthcare today. They're worth keeping an eye on.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list, and this list is not an endorsement of included companies. Companies could not pay for inclusion on this list. Companies are presented in alphabetical order.

Forward. Founded in 2016, San Francisco-based Forward is a health membership that provides members with access to physicians with data-driven technology, artificial intelligence, wearable sensors, 24/7 mobile access and a medical facility for preventative care. Members first come into Forward's medical office — which features six exam rooms equipped with interactive, personalized displays — to receive their in-person baseline appointment, according to the company. After that, Forward has a medical team that can be accessed worldwide via the Forward mobile app, and the artificial intelligence system can detect abnormalities in heart rate and blood pressure, among other data. The membership is $149 a month, billed annually.

MD Labs. When Reno, Nev.-based MD Labs was founded in 2011, its goal was to specialize in prescription monitoring toxicology and serve physicians nationwide. Since then, it has consistently added services based on client requests and pharmacotherapeutic trends. In 2014, the company started offering the Rxight pharmacogenetic program to hospitals and health systems. This testing, which was recently integrated into an acute coronary syndrome protocol for catheter labs, provides genetic guidance to physicians, allowing them to better understand individual patient responses to prescription medications. The Rxight program aims to reduce adverse drug reactions, provide health system cost savings, and reduce hospital readmission rates.

Medalogix. This Nashville, Tenn.-based company provides predictive analytics to home health caregivers. The company's solutions help home health clinicians predict and then act upon patient risk such as avoidable hospital readmission, necessity of additional care and mortality, according to Medalogix. In 2017, the company will launch "Path," a prescriptive analytics tool that incorporates CMS' value-based purchasing outcomes measures. The goal with the tool is to calculate optimized care plans for individual patients to drive outcome improvements. Medalogix also offers three other solutions — Touch, Bridge and Nurture. Touch predicts which patients are most likely to readmit to the hospital and then helps clinicians act upon that risk by deploying touchpoint calls, the company said. Bridge predicts and risk ranks patients according to their likelihood of benefiting from hospice care and also helps clinicians manage patients' home health care. Nurture predicts which discharged patients will benefit from additional care and provides calendars, monitoring tools and calling prompts to streamline an aftercare or discharged patient calling program.

MedXCom. MedXCom, based in Hoboken, N.J., is a hybrid medical answering service to document, record and flow all incoming and outbound afterhours calls into a patient's EMR chart. The system pulls patient chart data in real time as their call comes through, displaying it on the covering physician's smartphone, the company said. After the call, MedXCom automatically saves a recording of the conversation, along with any post call notes, directly into that patient's chart. MedXCom currently integrates athenaClinicals, an offering from health IT software vendor athenehealth, and has development agreements in place with several other major EHR vendors.  

Next IT Healthcare. Next IT Healthcare, based in Spokane Valley, Wash., is an intelligent interface company that develops artificial intelligence-powered patient engagement solutions for healthcare organizations. The company said by utilizing advanced cognitive technology to support a unique conversational user interface, their digital health coach offers patients real-time personalized coaching, resources and interventions to empower individuals to change behavior and achieve better health outcomes.

Patientory. Patientory, based in Atlanta, is described by some as the "Facebook for healthcare." Through the company's mobile app, Patientory users create an individual profile. Their medical information is then stored in the secure, HIPAA-compliant blockchain platform, which allows them to connect with other patients who have similar health issues or concerns, their physicians and their care team. Patients can then actively learn more about their overall health and well-being. In addition, patient and clinician users can engage Patientory's platform to better manage the patient's care across multiple teams, both inside and outside of the hospital.

Procyrion. Founded in 2005, this Houston-based biotechnology company developed the Aortix system. The Aortix, a minimally invasive catheter-based heart pump, is designed to rest the heart by reducing afterload and improve blood flow to vital organs, according to Procyrion. The company said the Aortix is different from other circulatory assist devices, including ventricular assist devices, that involve invasive, high-risk surgical procedures, because it is small enough — 6 millimeters wide and less than 6.5 centimeters long — to allow for deployment without surgery and with minimal procedure risk. Procyrion is a development-stage company, and the Aortix micro-pump is currently in pre-clinical testing to support a first-in-human trial scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.

Solera Health. Solera Health, based in Phoenix, aims to make chronic disease prevention programs affordable, accessible and efficient. As an integrator for prevention and management programs, Solera Health's national scalable model was designed to consolidate highly fragmented lifestyle modification programs and services into one integrated network, according to the company. The company does this by connecting individuals with programs as a covered medical benefit. Solera Health's proprietary analytics model proactively identifies the "best fit" program provider based on an individual's unique needs and preferences as they believe consumer choice is paramount to individual engagement and outcomes, and ultimately, to the program's success. Solera Health said its technology creates a marketplace connecting the 86 million U.S. adults at risk for type 2 diabetes with the more than 1,000 CDC-recognized digital, national or community-based diabetes prevention programs.

swyMed. This Lexington, Mass.-based company's patent-pending technology enables real-time video telemedicine consults. The company has adapted its technology, originally developed for satellite data transmission to the 1996 Olympic Games, for healthcare. SwyMed is used by healthcare providers for home health, emergency medical services/critical transport, telestroke and community paramedicine throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Twin Sails Technology Group. This Houston-based company developed a tablet-centric, customizable EHR solution for hospitals. At hospitals using this solution, nurses and physicians use iPads running Twin Sails Neptune EHR. Neptune EHR, unlike some other EHRs whose mobile apps provide only highly restricted and/or read-only access to patient records,was designed from the beginning for all-day use from a mobile device, even for inpatient care, the company said. Twin Sails Technology Group said its Neptune EHR also integrates across multiple settings of care, giving providers a complete picture spanning clinic visits and outpatient/inpatient hospital stays.

Welltok. Denver-based Welltok is a consumer health software as a service company. Welltok's CaféWell Health Optimization Platform, accessible via web and mobile, complements claims and clinical enterprise platforms and supports consumers in their everyday health. The company said it creates a data-driven personal health itinerary for each consumer with available and relevant resources, programs and benefits; rewards individuals for healthy activities and promotes healthy behaviors.  


*Erin Dietsche contributed to this piece.


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