The future of preventive care is being heavily disrupted by tech and we're all better off. Preventive care is evolving with the help of many tech and health startups. The disruption we're seeing across the health field is happening in a big way and may be for the better.
In the U.S. alone, 7 of the top 10 causes of death are potentially preventable chronic diseases. This includes diabetes, stroke, heart disease and some cancers. The total estimated cost of heart disease and stroke were about $315.4 billion in 2010 and for diabetes about $245 billion in 2012.
Cancer makes up nearly 48% of all deaths. These diseases are not affordable to diagnose and treat. A 1% reduction of risk factors like cholesterol and weight could save individuals $80-$100 per year, as projected by experts.
Here are 6 start-ups working toward fixing huge problems across preventive care so we can fight chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
1. Omada Health
This start-up has developed a 16-week online prevention program. The program is strucuted as a comprehensive lifestyle intervention program for people who have a high risk of chronic diseases. It's a scientifically-based program developed to encourage participants to adopt a healthier behaviors in multiple aspects of their lives.
- Online lessons about topics like nutrition and fitness
- A digital scale that tracks results
- Health coaches and supportive peers are also available to help push participants through more difficult moments
The founders have touted that the program has a retention rate over 75%, meaning its structure is different from many others and keeps participants engaged and focused on the goal of being healthier.
This company is focused on genetic testing. Their goal? They are focused on helping people make more knowledgeable decisions about their lives. Counsyl provides genetic counselors to help clients interpret their individual results and evaluate possible next steps. Understanding our individual genetic makeup makes for more informed and personalized decisions.
They offer 3 tests:
- Family Prep Screen
- Provides future parents with information about their genes that could pass on to their children
- Gives clear answers even before conception
- Informed Pregnancy Screening
- A test that gives accurate information after conception
- Inherited Cancer Screen
- Informs adults on their risks for developing breast, prostate, ovarian and pancreatic cancer
- Provides knowledge to further support getting screened earlier or more frequently, or in extreme cases undergo preventive surgeries
Neurotrack is aimed at improving early diagnosis of Alzheimers' disease. Alzheimer's is one of the top causes of death in America and cannot be prevented, cured or slower. But early diagnosis of the disease could help facilitate drug testing and development.
They developed a noninvasive, computer-based test that has potential to diagnose Alzheimer's patients 3-6 years before they show symptoms. This allows pharma 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.
Huneo is a company that developed a product called the HuNet infrastructure, aimed at storing time series health information and make it available to authorized users. Time series data is made up of measurements conducted over a certain period of time. An example would be a patient's vital signs. This information isn't usually stored and often gets lost forever. Huneo is working to change all that. It continues to be a problem for hospitals and by bringing big data to healthcare, doctors and other health professionals will be able to gain a deeper understanding of overarching health trends and administer better preventive care.
Healthtap is striving to legitimize the online space when it comes to health advice and become a better WebMD. The internet has a widespread amount of information available but can it all be trusted? HealthTap created a virtual consult service that allows patients to connect with a digital community of doctors in order to seek credible answers to all of their health questions and even have access to checklists of healthy habits to maintain. It also offers a concierge program that helps patients connect with existing doctors from anywhere via video, phone calls or text messages. Their third program, RateRX shows real doctor ratings and reviews for certain medications
Lumo is a wearable tech company taking it up a notch. Many companies have created their own versions of physical activity trackers. They take it a step further by also correcting people's posture and alleviating back pain with their most recent product Lumo Lift. It's simply a small sensor that magnetically clips onto clothing to assist users with their posture. The user calibrates the device to their best posture, based on guidelines provided by Lumo. The device then vibrates when the wearer deviates from this ideal position. Improved posture obviously relays a more confident stance but it also decreases stress and depression while improving circulation and the ability to focus.