We take a look at this week’s biggest developments, research and investment news from the world of Health Tech.
FitnessGenes, which creates personalised fitness and nutrition plans for individuals based on the results of an at-home DNA testing kit, has raised $5 million. FitnessGenes positions its product as a means of figuring out which specific diet plan and exercise regimen works best for an individual based on their genetic makeup. Users then provide a saliva sample and send it to FitnessGenes’ UK laboratory, where it’s analysed for specific genes that reportedly have an effect on the body’s ability to build muscle, burn fat and improve aerobic performance. Based on their genetic makeup and fitness goals, users are prompted to purchase a specific test and coaching plans from simple DNA analysis ($150) to muscle-building plans (up to $337). “We are delighted to have this vote of confidence from the team at SGHF so we can continue to build the world’s most personalised fitness and nutrition platform,” FitnessGenes CEO and cofounder Dr. Dan Reardon said in a statement.
New research shows health information exchanges (HIEs) cut down on redundant medical tests by allowing physicians access to a patient’s current medical history, leading to significant cost-savings. Researchers even estimated that Medicare, the health insurance program for people, could save $83 million annually in outpatient therapeutic procedure costs. The study, authored by Niam Yaraghi, a fellow at The Brookings Institution, and several colleagues at the University of Connecticut and the State University of New York at Buffalo showed that physicians with access to HIE data repeated therapeutic medical procedures less frequently. “To our knowledge, this is among the first studies that provide evidence for the effectiveness of HIE usage in the office settings,” the researchers wrote. “In addition, by separate analysing of diagnostic and therapeutic medical procedures, we have also shown that the HIE does not impact different types of medical procedures in the same way.”
Gixo, a personal trainer fitness app, has officially launched its subscription-based live workout app to Android and IOS, backed by $3.7 million in funding led by Greylock Partners. Gixo is trying to set itself apart by being one of the most approachable and flexible with a busy lifestyle, unlike some that are designed to use in the gym. Founders Selina Tobaccowala and Al Lieb were inspired to create Gixo when they realised their health and fitness were slipping due to increasing demands from work and family life. “With Gixo, we’ve taken all of the usual fitness excuses out of the equation,” the founders wrote in a post on Medium. “All you need to take a Gixo class is a smart phone. That means you can access classes whether you are in your house, across the world for business travel, or on your lunch break.” The cost of the app is also relatively low, compared to classes at a gym or hiring a trainer. The app costs $24 per month and operates on an “experience-orientated” mindset to working out, featuring over 150 workouts per week led by coaches who work for Gixo.
As robots continue to display factory workers and payment terminals replace cashiers, a Snapchat for the medical industry could change the way healthcare professionals work, thanks to local start-up KroniKare. KroniKare is developing a mobile application that assesses chronic wounds and presents a preliminary assessment to nurses or other healthcare workers. Chronic wounds are an increasingly problematic issue in the medical world, due to the result of common ailments such as diabetes and obesity. Patients use the app to create a five-second video of their wounds, which is then analysed by the app within 30 seconds. “Wound care nurses need automation because the process is very manual today,” says KroniKare founder Hossein Nejati. “They visually assess, physically probe and measure the wound. It takes 30 minutes. We can help speed up the process.” KroniKare wants to roll out more services for patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the future, too.
Outcome Health, a maker of waiting room screens and tablets for patient education and pharmaceutical marketing, has raised at least $500 million in first round funding, giving the company a valuation of around $5 billion. The nine-year-old company is raising funds now as it has plans to have its technology in 70 percent of all US physician practices (currently are in about 20 percent) by 2020. The company’s platform is deployed in clinics, hospitals and health systems around the country via a “digital waiting room” monitor, as well as a mobile app, and offers a portfolio of interactive technologies including vide-based engagement and assessment tools, tablets and anatomical boards. “Outcome Health is redefining the way that the life sciences, payers, healthcare IT, physicians and patients interact,” Todd Cozzens, co-founder and Managing Partner at Leerink Transformation Partners, said in a statement.
Founded by Nick Popovici, a former portfolio manager for Schroders, and serial entrepreneur Stefan Catoiu, Vita Mojo uses the power of technology to offer people healthier meal options which are perfect for their dietary requirements. “We believe in the power of the individual and champion a tailored approach to eating,” says Popovici. “Everyone is different and requires tailored building blocks – proteins, carbs and fats – in order to be their best self.” Customers are given the choice of over 9 billion meal combinations, selected either in-store or via an Ipad, or delivered through Vita Mojo’s app or web-portal. This is all devised through a proprietary algorithm that learns to adapt to consumer needs, adjusting the quantities of preferred ingredients to adapt to changing requirements – while reducing food wastage by 26 per cent. The company launched a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube, looking for £1.5m of investment to expand its operations, and smashed it in just 24 hours.
A telehealth program at one Midwestern health system is paying off for stroke patients that require immediate intervention. Hospital Sisters Health System, which oversees 15 hospitals throughout Illinois and Wisconsin, has treated more than 1,500 emergency stroke patients from its telehealth program since it was launched in 2014. The 24/7 emergency service provides access to specialists who can respond to a patient in three minutes or less, according to the health system. Telestroke has become a widely adopted practice among healthcare systems that don’t have constant access to a neurologist. The new technology has helped rural hospitals get fast and efficient care for stroke patients, Gurpreet Mander, M.D., chief medical officer for HSHS St. John’s Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois and executive director of the Illinois Telehealth Network, told The State Register-Journal.
Bright Health has raised a new round of $160 million with additional participation from new investors Greycroft Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Cross Creek advisors. The raise follows an $80 million round from Bright Health in April of last year, bringing the company’s total funding to $240 million. The firm plan to partner with specific providers so they can focus on supporting the relationship between the doctor and patient. “Bright Health is committed to offering affordable and higher quality healthcare to individuals and their families,” Bob Sheehy, Bright Health’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Leading health systems across the country are developing new models to transform the healthcare market in local communities.” Bright Health also have plans to offer a more integrated technology experience, which includes web tools for finding a plan and finding a provider, as well as a mobile app which includes a provider finder.