Tag Archives: Health Transformers

Qura’s Tiny Implantables Could Revolutionize How We Treat Hypertension



When it comes to health technology, often the next big thing is really, really small.

Our guest on the show this week, Dr. Will Hendren, has seen personally that when it comes to implanting a medical device in the body, size matters.

Dr. Hendren spent decades as a surgeon working with rescue devices like pacemakers, which themselves have evolved from being the size of a pack of cigarettes to being smaller than a triple A battery. It doesn’t take a degree in biomechanical engineering to appreciate that you want a lower profile machine sitting next to your heart.

Now, with his company Qura – a member of the StartUp Health community since 2016 – Dr. Hendren is taking that concept to the next level. He and his team are the leading edge of miniaturizing medical devices to such an extreme degree that it opens up a whole new market for remote patient monitoring.

In our interview we’ll talk about how Dr. Hendren and his team have built an implantable the size of a vitamin that can take blood pressure readings passively and transmit that information to the patient and their caregiver wirelessly. We’ll talk about some of the tiny tech that it was necessary to invent in order to make this breakthrough possible, and we’ll talk about how remote monitoring at scale could be a gamechanger for hypertension and heart disease, which are two of the top causes of death globally.

Let’s get into it!


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Gamification in Healthcare: How Two Founders Are Using Games to Heal



This week, we’re talking about gamification in healthcare. Gamification has been a popular buzzword in tech and in health, but it just means using elements we associate with games in non-game contexts. It means capitalizing on the motivations we find in games through things like progress updates and level-up badges to change behaviors and get us to do things that are going to be good for our health.

Today on the show, we’re talking to two founders who are gamifying the healthcare experience in two unique ways.

The first conversation is with Raj Amin, CEO & Co-founder of Arcade Therapeutics, a company that has been in the StartUp Health community since TK. They are a science-first game studio developing games that act like medicine, focusing on mental health. We’ll hear exactly what they’re building and why clinical research is key to their approach.

Then we’ll hear from Farhaneh Ahmadi, PhD, CEO & Co-founder of eddii, a company that is part of our T1D Moonshot. She and her team are using mobile gaming elements to help young people with their Type 1 diabetes management. Her company uses a character named eddii that talks to the user, tells them stories, and plays games with them – making it more relatable and more enjoyable to manage diabetes.

Listen in to learn more about these innovative approaches to improving health.

 


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No More Suffering in Silence: Meet Two Founders Tackling Gut Health



On this week’s StartUp Health NOW episode, we’re talking about the future of gut health with Jeff Glueck, CEO & Co-founder of Salvo Health, and Swathi Arulguppe, CEO & Founder at BetterMeal AI.

There’s no doubt gut health is having a moment.

For a long time, health issues in the gut, like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease, were met with outdated pamphlets about diets. The result was millions of people suffering in silence with painful, life-limiting conditions.

It’s not that GI doctors didn’t want to help. There just didn’t seem to be a lot that they could do.

Thankfully our understanding of the importance of gut health – and its connection to mental health and whole health – has resulted in a wave of innovation. And on this podcast episode, we’ll talk to some amazing entrepreneurs working to break this cycle and bring relief to patients.

Our first guest, Jeff Glueck was the CEO of Foursquare before he co-founded Salvo Health. He’s taking on gut health from two innovative angles.

The first is through the establishment of a digital clinic which makes specialty GI care available to patients at scale and on demand. Second, Glueck and his team are capitalizing on the latest research connecting gut health to mental health and other conditions. This connection between the gut microbiome and whole health is just exploding and Salvo is helping patients stay on the cutting edge.

Then we’ll check in with Swathi Arulguppe, CEO & Founder of BetterMeal AI.

You’ll hear how Arulguppe has taken her own journey with a debilitating GI condition, combined it with her passion for data, and built a platform for helping deliver AI-driven personalized meal recommendations to patients. By understanding the biological connections between human gut and food at the deepest level, she has built an app that helps guide its users on how to best manage their gut health through their nutrition.

Let’s jump in and find out where we are in gut health innovation.

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Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
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How Two Founders Are Using AI to Tackle Wasteful Healthcare Spending



On this StartUp Health NOW episode, we’re talking about wasteful spending in healthcare. This is one of those topics that’s hard to put in perspective. The institute of medicine says that 30% of healthcare spending could be categorized as wasteful, putting the total tab north of $750 million. It could be a trillion dollars.

Health insurance premiums are up 7% year over year, according to Health Affairs. Analysts point to inflation as a strong cause, but this nearly trillion dollars in unnecessary spending isn’t helping the equation.

Bottom line, healthcare costs are out of control and driving many people into medical bankruptcy. If 30% of healthcare spending is unnecessary, we’ve got to get this under control. Thankfully, we’ve got founders in the StartUp Health community who are passionate about this issue.

Jude Odu, CEO & Founder of Health Cost IQ, and Pinaki Dasgupta, CEO & Founder of Hindsait, will help us understand what constitutes wasteful spending and how advances in AI allow us to root it out at the source.

This is the kind of innovation that takes some courage, because pointing out to a hospital that they’re double billing or telling an insurer that they’re making massive errors doesn’t make you popular with either party. But it’s got to be done if we’re going to get overall health costs under control.

Enjoy the episode.

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Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.


Thriving Seniors: How These Founders Are Upgrading Senior Care from Early Disease Detection to Care Coordination




Food as Medicine: The Next Wave of Tech-Enabled Nutrition



At StartUp Health we’re all about what’s new and what’s next in health, and that often means talking about cutting-edge technology. But sometimes the most radical way to improve is also the simplest. One example? Our food.

This week, as we head into Thanksgiving in the United States, we’re talking about the role food plays in managing not just our weight and fitness, but actual chronic diseases. Some people use the term ‘Food as Medicine,’ and the more research we do, the more ways we find that tuning our nutrition can sometimes be superior to taking more pharmaceuticals.

While the idea of seeing food as a legitimate healthcare tool isn’t new, per se, there are some exciting new tools and platforms that leverage nutritional information and make it more accessible to the world. And that’s what we’re going to talk about on this episode.

Our first guest is Shireen Abdullah, CEO & Founder at Yumlish, who joined the StartUp Health community in 2019. Shireen’s platform puts a virtual nutritionist in your pocket, with a strong emphasis on boosting health literacy. She’s also worked very closely with the Air Force on workforce readiness. Turns out there are so many young people who are overweight and inactive that it’s hindering military recruitment and becoming a national security threat.

After Shireen we’ll hear from Victor Penev, CEO & Founder of Edamam, a Health Transformer since all the way back in 2013. Victor has made the world’s food knowledge more searchable through Edamam’s API so that users of platforms like NOOM and Virta Health can get personalized meal recommendations. We’ll also hear about their brand new integration with Open AI that brings a ChatGPT experience to the process of finding personalized meal plans.

Enjoy the episode!


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Want more content like this? You can subscribe to the podcast as well as other health innovation updates at startuphealth.com/content.
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Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.


Why Wingwomen Took the Leap from Virtual Support to Real-World Care for Reproductive Health



When Adonica Shaw founded Wingwomen, it was to address a very specific, personal need. Shaw had experienced a difficult pregnancy – preeclampsia turned an otherwise healthy pregnancy into a medical emergency. Afterward she looked around and there was no one to talk to about what she’d been through and nowhere she felt she could go for advice.

So she built a safe space to talk about issues around women’s health and maternal health. It was all virtual at first and provided curated communities of support.

But one day Shaw realized that there were services she wanted to provide to her customers that just couldn’t be handled on an app. There were also services she wanted to provide that couldn’t get reimbursed without a physical component. So she made a leap that very few health tech founders make: she decided to open up a physical clinic. She found suitable space in South Boston, fitted it out to her specifications, and put out her proverbial shingle.

As we discuss, in this StartUp Health NOW podcast episode, this has come with serious challenges. There’s a reason why many founders prefer SaaS business models over bricks and mortar. Dealing with local zoning, difficult neighbors, staffing… it’s a lot. But designing a physical space also allows Shaw to lay the foundation for a new way for women to get care and to support one another along the way.

Let’s get into the conversation.


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Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
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Neolth Teams Up with NBA Star Kenny Thomas to Bring Mental Health Tools to Kids



According to some estimates, out of the HHS, nearly 50% of kids have experienced some kind of mental health challenge. And not just anxiety about an upcoming test or depression over a breakup, but persistent feelings that interfere with daily activities.

Health innovation companies have been on the case for years, including many from the StartUp Health community. They’re tackling the science – like what’s the best way to treat mental health challenges in teens – and they’re also tackling engagement. You can have the best tools in the world after all, but if a young person doesn’t want to get help, it’ll never go anywhere.

Enter Katherine Grill, PhD, CEO & Co-founder of Neolth, one of our guests on this podcast episode. She’s taken her doctorate in behavioral neuroscience and her experience as a clinician, combined with hundreds of interviews with young people, in order to build a platform that meets kids where they’re at – offering self-guided mental health support in a variety of forms and flavors.

Joining the podcast with us is former pro basketball player, Kenny Thomas. After spending 11 seasons in the NBA, Thomas became an entrepreneur and community advocate, with a focus on youth experiencing financial hardship via his own foundation. And now he’s throwing his influence behind Neolth in order to help young people, particularly those involved in sports, gain access to mental health services.

On this StartUp Health NOW episode, we’ll cover the ins and outs of the Neolth platform as well as some of Dr. Grill’s strategy behind working with a brand ambassador, which is somewhat unique in the world of early-stage health startups.

Let’s get into it.


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Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.


These Founders Are Pairing AI + SDoH to Re-humanize Healthcare



Our episode this week was recorded during our StartUp Health Studio interviews at the recent HLTH conference in Las Vegas. At the event, a hot topic was how artificial intelligence, specifically generative AI, is going to fundamentally shift healthcare delivery. AI can help us comb through mountains of information and take action on data points that were previously hidden from view. But many people have a serious concern – even a fear – that AI will degrade the doctor-patient relationship and effectively dehumanize healthcare.

Our two guests today both joined the StartUp Health community earlier in 2023. They are pushing back against that narrative and suggesting with their companies that AI and big data can be leveraged to re-humanize healthcare delivery.

First we’ll talk with Nicole Cook, the CEO & Founder of Alvee, who is on a health moonshot mission to use AI-driven solutions to promote health equity and improve health outcomes for all. Cook reminds us that doctors are spending an inordinate amount of their time with a patient tapping away at a screen. The status quo is not working, so can new patient data tools help? Can they bring the right information to the surface at the right time and the right way, so healthcare providers can get back to making eye contact with patients?

What’s Cook is building at Alvee is resonating, as she went on to win the HLTH Startup Pitch Competition.

Next, we hear from Chris Turner, CEO & Co-founder at HealthBook+, who is attempting to create a fuller, more human picture of each patient using all available data including data from some nontraditional sources. HealthBook+ provides a simple-to-use, digital-first care platform which consolidates health data and keeps it private, as well as predicts conditions and recommends the next best health actions.

If the top line story for this episode is how data and AI could be used to create a more human electronic health record, the secondary story is about who can benefit from this technology.

Everyone’s talking about social determinants of health. This idea that we need to address the non-medical drivers of health, like access to fresh food and transportation. Healthcare providers care about these issues but don’t have the time or resources to analyze the data. That’s where Alvee Health and HealthBook+ can come in. Providing a fuller, more human analysis of patient data means taking into account important barriers to care and getting smart about how to overcome them.

So let’s get into it.


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Want more content like this? You can subscribe to the podcast as well as other health innovation updates at startuphealth.com/content.
Sign up for StartUp Health Insider™ to get funding insights, news, and special updates delivered to your inbox.

Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.


10-Year Overnight Success: UnaliWear Tops Wirecutter List of Medical Alert Systems



We’re back with a new season of the StartUp Health NOW podcast!

This week we’re chatting with Richard Hirsch from UnaliWear. UnaliWear, under the guidance of CEO & Founder Jean Anne Booth, is a long-time StartUp Health community member that is changing the game in medical alerts for seniors.

UnaliWear built the voice-first Kanega watch that provides discreet support for falls, medication reminders, and a guard against wandering – and allows seniors to call for help if they need it. It gives seniors independence without making them wear a stigmatizing alert button around their necks.

And, now, after years of other awards and accolades, the Kanega watch was just named by The New York Times Wirecutter as the best medical alert device for people on the go. That’s the kind of market validation that startups dream about.

Listen in as Hirsch shares insights on how UnaliWear grew into a “10-year overnight success.”

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Want more content like this? You can subscribe to the podcast as well as other health innovation updates at startuphealth.com/content.
Sign up for StartUp Health Insider™ to get funding insights, news, and special updates delivered to your inbox.

Looking to break down health barriers? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our Health Equity Moonshot.
Passionate about Type 1 diabetes? If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, contact us to learn how you can join our T1D Moonshot.