For a generation of tech-savvy, smartphone-connected doctors, looking up definitions in printed paper textbooks or searching for medical journal entries by volume and issue number seems downright archaic.
Several of the entrepreneurs presenting their startups at Rock Health’s demo day on Wednesday held both medical and business degrees, which was reflected in their focus on using technology to improve efficiency and communication for medical doctors and their health-conscious patients.
Rock Health is a seed accelerator for digital health startups, and its second class of entrepreneurs presented their pitches on Wednesday. In exchange for admission into the program, the startups received $20,000, San Francisco office space, and five months to launch their ideas.
Three of the startups presented particularly interesting solutions to problems faced by medical professionals, and should be on your radar as they grow:
Docphin has built technology that makes it easier for doctors to search for, download, and share medical journal articles without the hassle of multiple academic login screens. Doctors connect with their academic institution for access, and then search for articles that interest them, search by keyword, or check articles that were released since they last logged in. “It’s Kayak.com meets medical research, except you’re not trying to book a last-minute flight,” said Mitesh Patel, co-founder and CEO.
Docphin is also building an enterprise product that allows institutions to pay a licensing fee and then distribute training videos and documents to its doctors. Patel said Docphin is getting ready to close its second seed funding round, and has recieved investment from groups including the Mayo Clinic. It’s easy to understand how doctors used to readability apps like Instapaper or modern search engines would be attracted to Docphin’s product.
If you’re carrying an iPhone in your pocket, you’re carrying an incredibly sophisticated computer, and startup Cardiio looks to take advantage of that technology by using the iPhone camera as a biosensor to measure patient heart rates. How does it work? Users simply hold the iPhone camera up to their face, tap a button on the screen, and wait for the iPhone camera to measure light reflected off the person’s face. Increased blood flow reduces the amount of light reflecting off a person’s face, so the iPhone camera sensors can detect a person’s heart rate based on that information.
The app is incredibly fun to use, and would likely appeal more to consumers hoping to track their heart rate on the go than doctors in a medical setting. But the possibilities for use seem fairly widespread. The biggest question with Cardiio seems to be whether or not the technology will work consistently. Cardiio’s founders said they’ve tested the app against heart rate monitors, and it’s been very accurate. The Cardiio iPhone app will likely launch in the iTunes Store this week, and the company is working on an Android app coming up next.
Trying to remember the different steps to take in diagnosing a patient’s illness, but don’t want to carry around physical medical textbooks or copies of the the latest medical guidelines? Agile Diagnosis is an HTML5 web app that produces flow charts for doctors on the go, aggregating the latest medical recommendations from textbooks and professional society guidelines. The company began with information from commonly-used medical texts, and is expanding it to include guidelines from medical societies and widespread medical literature. The information is presented with hyperlinks in an interactive flowchart, letting doctors select for further information or skip steps they understand well. Experienced doctors can also use the charts and information to explain medical terms or conditions to patients.
Most recently, 30 percent of the app’s traffic came from iPhone users, closely followed by 20-30 percent from Windows desktop users. The founders said Agile Diagnosis is intended to provide doctors with the latest resources at their fingertips, and provide feedback to the societies writing and developing medical guidelines for doctors.
Agile Diagnosis already has 10,000 users since its beta version launched in March, representing more than 240 academic medical centers and 20 hospitals. The company has raised 2.5 million in funding, and is looking to expand its team.