Startups to Shake Up Healthcare?

Medical_Software_Logo,_by_Harry_GouvasI don’t know if there is any one field where technology is making more impact than medicine. The industry is being reinvented from top to bottom and barely a day goes by when I don’t see news of a company pursuing some new way of bringing technology into the field. I could write blogs all week talking about some of the latest endeavors. This is also an area where startups are getting funded at a rapid pace. Following are a few of the more interesting startups I’ve read about lately.

Miroculus has developed a small device they call ‘Miriam’ that can work with a smartphone to do pre-screening on a number of different health issues like cancer. The device divides a blood sample onto 96 sections and runs a different test on each. The device will screen for things like various microRNA markers that can show the early onset of different cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer. The device uses open source software and the hope is that external researchers will help to develop tests for many additional ailments.

Omicia is working on a platform that lets doctors incorporate DNA analysis into a patient’s health profile. The immediate goal is to identify genetic proclivities of a given patient for specific conditions. But the hope in the long run is to help design specific treatment regimens for various diseases that will consider the patient’s DNA. For example, it should be possible upfront to understand which drugs a given patient will be allergic or oversensitive to.

Syapse Software is working along similar lines but is looking beyond DNA to look at other types of molecular profiling to diagnose diseases and treat patients. They are working to develop tools that will let researchers and clinicians understand body and blood chemistry and apply it to regimens of diagnosis and treatment.

ZephyrLife is a startup that is concentrating on incorporating wearables into the medical process. They have developed wearables that can monitor patient vitals while in a health care facility. This will greatly speed up collecting the vitals from a new patient that checks into an emergency room, but also greatly simplify the process and save time and money. They also are exploring a set of wearables for out-patients to monitor vitals post-surgery. The hope is that over time that monitoring will greatly reduce the number of readmissions from patents by spotting problems early.

Infermedica is developing a set of artificial intelligence tools to screen patients. Having patients answer questions before seeing a doctor can let the doctor focus more directly on the specific symptoms. The company also has developed self-diagnostic tools that will work on smartphones that can help patients narrow the list of ailments they might have.

BigHealth hopes to track patient behavior to allow people to improve their health through changes in behavior. For example, their first product Sleepio tracks sleeping behavior since it is well known  that poor sleep can contribute to a wide variety of ailments. The company plans to tackle a host of other health-related issues where providing feedback can help people change their behavior to improve their health.

RxMatch is taking a very different approach and is creating a social network that lets people with similar ailments find each other. The idea is that doctors can only do so much and sometimes it’s the little things that the doctors don’t tell you that might make a difference in dealing with a given disease.

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