This week, CB Insights released a list of what it deems to be the 50 most promising digital health companies of 2023. The market research firm said that the startups on the list are working to improve four main aspects of healthcare: personalization, efficiency, equity and accessibility.
“I don’t think it’s going to be news to anybody that overall funding for global digital health has really fallen off. We’re currently at the lowest point we’ve been at for a while, which makes it interesting that these 50 digital health companies are really bucking that trend,” said Alex Lennox-Miller, lead analyst at CB Insights, during a Tuesday webinar.
One obvious similarity between the 50 startups is that they have all succeeded in raising money and demonstrating the value of their products in a challenging market. Another common thread is that all the startups on the list are “doing their best to create engaged, personalized and scalable experiences,” Lennox-Miller declared.
People often conflate personalization with precision medicine, but personalization in healthcare is much more than that, he pointed out.
For example, companies like Navina and RadAI offer products that generate personalized pre-visit planning documents and post-visit summaries for patients, as well as prepare documentation for providers for things like referrals and prior authorization requests.
There are also companies on the list that apply personalization to patient outreach, such as Violet and DexCare. They do this by tailoring content to patients’ health history and current conditions, sending appointment reminders, and offering various communication channels, such as text, email and mobile apps.
“With the increase in data interoperability with more refined analytics and especially now with the use of generative AI, personalization can really be done much more easily, much more at scale and can really be found in a number of different spaces,” Lennox-Miller explained.
Healthcare has been plagued by inefficiencies “for decades at least, possible centuries,” Lennox-Miller declared perhaps only slightly hyperbolically.
“The really interesting advance in how people are approaching productivity in healthcare is that now much more of these products are looking at how to supplement providers and how to supplement staff, rather than trying to replace them or trying to take over entire tasks,” he said.
Two examples are Medivis and Proprio, which are the surgical intelligence space. They improve clinicians’ workflows by automating some of the procedure planning, assisting with documenting results and using synthetic imaging to reduce the amount of time that needs clinicians spend in the imaging suite. Synthetic imaging refers to the digital generation of artificial images, often based on existing medical imaging data. The goal is to enhance diagnostic information or create specific visualizations that aid in medical interpretation.
There are also companies trying to streamline processes that have historically been time-consuming, like Axuall and Verifiable. They both focus on digital credentialing, which helps providers onboard new workers more quickly.
More and more healthcare startups are recognizing how important human variation is within healthcare, Lennox-Miller declared. In other words, the industry is beginning to understand how crucial it is for providers to consider the unique needs and circumstances of their diverse patient populations.
“Recognizing variation is important for achieving not just the best clinical results and the best patient experience, but in really ensuring that everybody is getting the best possible healthcare and feels that healthcare is accessible to them,” he explained.
Companies like MedeLoop, Paradigm and QuantHealth have designed their tech around making clinical trials more accessible and recruiting diverse participants for trials testing novel therapies. This type of technology is needed to ensure drugmakers aren’t producing therapies that are less effective for certain patient populations, Lennox-Miller pointed out.
There are also startups in the women’s health space, such as maternity clinic Oula and menopause-focused virtual clinic Midi Health, that seek to advance health equity. Both were born out of women’s frustrations with the traditional healthcare system, in which female patients’ concerns have been historically mishandled or dismissed.
Since the dawn of retail clinics, the industry has been trying to make care more convenient for patients. But accessibility isn’t just about convenience, Lennox-Miller noted.
“These are tools about how do we make care happen sooner? How do we make sure that people are getting the right care and the appointments that they need so they aren’t going from doctor to doctor and from specialist to specialist waiting to get some kind of answer to what’s wrong with them? How do we make sure that care is coordinated correctly so that things are happening in a timely fashion and communication is going on?” he explained.
He also pointed out that the industry needs to ensure that data is quickly integrated into patient records, regardless of where they received care. This ensures that providers don’t have to scramble to find and gather faxes, scanned documents and physical records, which makes it harder for patients to receive timely care. Particle is an example of an interoperability startup working on a fix. The company connects providers, tech developers and other healthcare organizations to a unified application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable authorized access to patients’ health records.
Original Article: (https://medcitynews.com/2023/12/healthcare-startup-technology/)