There are many reasons why the digital technologies hope to improve patient care as well as the state of healthcare itself. They include improving efficiencies, patient safety, and cost. We selected the Top 10 companies doing super innovative research and offering revolutionary services in digital health.
Note: These 10 are listed in a random order and not by any ranking.
MediSafe’s app and cloud-synced database allows family and friends to aid in the medical care of a loved one by being alerted as to whether or not an ageing father or mother, for instance, has taken their medication. This has significantly boosted prescription compliance: Last year, MediSafe revealed that Type 2 diabetic users of its technology boasted adherence rates of at least 26% higher than standard rates for long-term therapies.
Ginger.io‘s apps track the way patients use their phones—like patterns in communication and location—and employ a number of algorithms to alert caregivers to changes that may indicate symptoms or crises. The technology is currently being rolled out in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and in North Carolina, through the provider network Novant. To date, Ginger.io has collected more than 6 million data points from patients, which will help the company refine its technology as its customer base grows.
3. Setpoint Medical
Some of the most chronic diseases—such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis—are due to some form of inflammation. SetPoint‘s technology consists of a tiny implant in the vagus nerve of the neck that, when activated, helps reduce the inflammatory reflex—the physiological response that controls inflammation—via a pathway discovered by the company’s cofounder. SetPoint Medical, whose aim is to offer cheaper and less risky therapies for inflammatory diseases, is currently involved in clinical trials.
There’s no denying that Big Blue’s Watson supercomputer holds promise to improve health care administration and, more crucially, cancer treatment. Its medical rollout began with insurance and provider giant WellPoint (to conduct administrative reviews) and at Memorial Sloan Kettering, where it is learning the finer points of cancer treatment from the world’s premier oncologists. By tapping into a nearly inexhaustible well of data to keep abreast of recent studies and trials, the computer will be able to give practitioners the keen edge of artificial intelligence to boost patient care.
5. Proteus Digital Health
This summer, Proteus Digital Health announced that it raised $52 million, bringing its Series G investment round to more than $172 million. Proteus develops products it calls “digital medicines,” like its Helius digital health feedback system, which integrates regular pharmaceuticals with ingestible sensors. When swallowed, the sensor communicates the time of ingestion to a wearable patch, which also captures physiological responses and detects heart rate, activity, and rest. The system sends the information to a mobile device, then to health care providers or caregivers. Proteus is partnering with Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Novartis to develop and commercialise further digital medicines.
Doximity, the “LinkedIn for doctors,” has been steadily gaining momentum since its launch in 2011. The company in late April announced that it had taken a new $54 million round of funding, bringing its total up to $81 million. Doctors are using Doximity to exchange secure (HIPAA-friendly) messages about patients, send digital faxes, peruse profiles of specialists and general practitioners, stay in touch with friends from medical school, and even gain accreditation for their medical education.
Doximity’s Jeff Tangney says his company has seen its revenues quadruple thus far in 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. Tangney says his company is focused on growing membership now, but an IPO could be one eventuality for his company. He points out that it depends in large part on the market’s appetite for digital health IPOs in the next year.
7. Lift Labs
Lift Labs, which makes a spoon designed to cancel the effects of tremors caused by neurodegenerative diseases, was acquired by Google for an undisclosed amount. Lift has also developed two apps — Lift Pulse and Lift Stride — to measure tremors and to help people with Parkinson’s disease prevent shuffling while walking. Members of the Lift Labs team joined Google X, where they will continue to develop Liftware and other technologies and tools.
8. Perfint Healthcare
Perfint Healthcare makes new technology, specifically robots for oncologists — doctors who specialise in cancer treatment. MAXIO is a robot assistant that was designed to help doctors with cancer diagnostics, treatment, and surgery. The robot is more accurate than a human in detecting exactly where a needle should be inserted into a tumour, for instance. Robio is another robot that helps target tumour treatment or therapy, and helps with drainage, biopsies, and pain management.
CliniOps is a company trying to digitise and transform clinical trials to make them more efficient. It’s an application that automates electronic document submission and sends reminders to patients participating in the trial. It does checks on patients, who can upload photos and videos to show progress, using a tablet application, and then uploads the information to the cloud. This way, it can analyse trends and problems with the research in real-time, rather than waiting until the end of the trial.
10. Evolent Health
Evolent Health became popular right around the time when the Affordable Care Act went into effect, and it’s still rapidly growing. The company sells software, advisory services, and information technology to hospitals and healthcare providers. The technology they use is called “Identifi” and it gathers and crunches relevant data about patients so that doctors can better treat them at lower costs.
Honourable Mention: Apple
Apple has announced “ResearchKit”, a software framework made for medical research. More specifically, ResearchKit is a solution for making iOS devices with HealthKit into tools for diagnosis. There are 5 apps that will allow people to contribute towards research of different diseases.