Sunday, May 3, 2015

The future of preventive care: How 7 startups are making an impact

Chronic Disease and Prevention

Chronic Diseases and Prevention are at the top of the list for Startups, according to Mashable
Venture capitalists are evaluating the candidates, and competition will be stiff.

Counsyl      Get Started

The genetic testing services provided by Counsyl help people make knowledgeable decisions about their lives. They offers three tests: Family Prep Screen, Informed Pregnancy Screen and Inherited Cancer Screen.

The Family Prep Screen and Informed Pregnancy Screen provide future parents with information about the genes that they will potentially pass on to children; the Family Prep Screen does so before conception whereas the Informed Pregnancy Screen test does so after. Genetic counselors are then available to help the clients interpret their results and evaluate possible next steps.
The Inherited Cancer Screen lets adults know whether they have a high risk of developing breast, prostate, ovary or pancreas cancer. With this knowledge, adults can either get screened earlier and more frequently, or, in extreme cases, undergo preventive surgery.


Excuse the cliché, but regarding health data, knowledge is truly power. Huneo has capitalized on this notion by developing its HuNet infrastructure that stores time series health information that is then available to any HuNet authorized user. Time series data is made up of measurements conducted over a certain period of time, an example being patients' vital signs. This information is usually not stored and consequently lost forever — a problem that Huneo hopes to address with HuNet.
Alzheimer’s disease is the only one of the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, but early diagnosis of the disease could help facilitate drug testing and development.
Neurotrack has developed a noninvasive, computer-based test that has the potential to diagnose Alzheimer’s patients three to six years before they show symptoms, thereby allowing pharmaceutical companies to better recruit patients for clinical trials. The company claims its technology will eventually be used as a screening test to help slow and possibly prevent the disease’s progression.
Omada developed its 16-week online Prevent program as a comprehensive lifestyle intervention for people who have a high risk of chronic disease. The scientifically based program is developed to encourage participants to adopt healthier behaviors in multiple aspects of their lives. To do this, the program includes online lessons about topics like nutrition and fitness, as well as a digital scale that tracks results. Health coaches and supportive peers are also there to help push participants through trying moments. The program boasts a retention rate that is often over 75% — a number that Duffy says is well above most face-to-face programs.

With the Virtual Consult service, HealthTap allows patients to connect with its digital community of doctors to get credible answers for any of their health questions and even checklists of healthy habits to maintain. Other helpful services offered by the company include its Concierge program, which helps patients connect with their existing doctors from anywhere in the world via video, phone calls or text messages, and the RateRx program, for which doctors have rated and reviewed certain medications.


 With SkinVision’s melanoma app, users can take photos of their moles that the app will analyze for abnormal growth and save and organize so users can track their moles over time for dangerous, potentially cancerous changes. If users want a  professional opinion about a mole, they can also share the photographs with their dermatologist.

Wearable technology is having a moment. Companies like FitbitJawboneMisfitand even Apple are producing their own versions of activity trackers. Lumo goes one step beyond this, though, and not only tracks activity but also corrects people’s posture and alleviates back pain with its most recent product, the Lumo Lift.
Lumo’s first product was the Lumo Back, inspired by the chronic back pain one of Lumo’s founders used to suffer. The Lumo Back is worn around users’ lower backs, and works to reduce back pain by improving back posture. Following its positive reception, the company decided to create another product to reach an even bigger market.
Most of these offerings have yet to be FDA approved for accuracy and/or reliability. The offerings will need to be vetted.

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