We take a look at this week’s biggest developments, research and investment news from the world of Health Tech.
A health technology start-up designed to help people live more active lives and prevent symptoms of type 2 diabetes, has raised £500,000 and been commissioned by the NHS. OurPath is the first digital behavioural change programme to manage type 2 diabetes and the £149 cost will be paid by the NHS whenever the programme is prescribed. Customers are sent an activity tracker and wi-fi enabled scales, and are assigned a mentor to help them through the lifestyle changes they’ll need to make over a six-week programme, such as adjusting their diet and receiving interactive content. The £500,000 investment comes from several backers, including US venture capital firm 500 Startups, start-up accelerator Bethnal Green Ventures and private angels.
San Francisco-based Lemonaid Health, a text-based telemedicine app, has raised $11 million in Series A funding. The app, which is available across 14 states, can be used for treatment across eight clinical areas that typically require medication prescriptions, such sinus infections and hair loss. Visits are $15 regardless of what condition is assessed, and the company aims for the whole process, from answering health history questions to prescription writing in only two hours. “We believe healthcare is moving more and more to a world of algorithms as a mechanism to improve outcomes and reduce costs, and we think of ourselves as providing assistance and guidance to doctors to make clinical decisions driven by those algorithms embedded in the technology,” Lemonaid CEO Paul Johnson told MobiHealthNews. “The latest funding will be put towards further optimising our algorithms and AI to expand the range of medical areas we can treat.”
Vericred, a healthcare data company which offers a platform with provider-network dataset, has raised $5.5 million in a round led by FCA Venture Partners. The centralised data platform allows individuals and businesses to enrol, understand and use health insurance and employee benefits, whilst acting as a connector between health plans and health technology companies to build out features such as price transparency tool and appointment-booking apps. “With its combination of a strong management team and great technology, Vericred is positioning itself to power health insurance and employee benefit related applications, transactions and insights across the industry.” FCA Venture Partners’ co-managing partner Matthew King said in a statement.
San Jose, California-based VitalConnect, a maker of wearable sensors for remote monitoring, has raised $33 million in Series C financing in a round led by MVM Life Science Partners and Baxter International. They plan to use the funding to move forward with commercialising its remote monitoring platform and medical-grade wearable sensor system. The FDA-cleared disposable peel-and-stick health sensors can measure a range of biometric data including single lead ECG, heart rate, skin temperature and even posture (which can detect falls). With Bluetooth, the sensors send the data to either a connected app or hub, then onwards to a cloud-based server where it can be accessed by the user’s care providers.
Healthcare providers, life science companies and technology vendors view artificial intelligence as important to competitiveness, Tata Consultancy Services reports. Around 86 percent of healthcare provider organisations, life science companies and technology vendors and currently using artificial intelligence technology, and these organisations will spend an average of $54 million on artificial intelligence projects by 2020. Artificial intelligence investments have shown successful returns with cognitive technology-centered business areas generating a 14 percent increase in revenue, whilst cutting operational costs by 10 percent.
DocPlanner, a Polish appointment booking software company, just raised $16.8 million (15 million euro) in new funding from Enern Investments, Target Global, and One Peak Partners. This now brings the company’s total funding to $51 million (46 million euros). The new funds will support DocPlanner’s expansion into the Latin American market, and expand their offices in Brazil and Mexico. The funding will also be used to support continuing marketing and sales activity in Europe. Consumers can use this service to search for doctors, read ratings from others users, and book appointments with nearby medical professionals.
Warby Parker, an online eye glasses retailer, has launched a new app to offer online eye exams to users, being the first glasses retailer to venture into the space. The FDA-registered app, Prescription Check, is currently being offered for free to users in California, Florida, New York and Virginia, with only those who currently own Warby Parker glasses. It merely measures refractive error and the test takes 20 minutes, requires 12 feet of space and a smartphone and computer. A doctor will then review the test results, and if the user’s prescription hasn’t changed, will renew their prescription. If it has, the doctor will recommend a comprehensive eye exam.