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Health - Startup Digest - July 1st - July 7th

Startup Digest


July 01, 2016

Startup Highlight: Sonde Health

Sonde Health is taking on the incredibly tough task of using your own voice to diagnose a variety of ailments from mental health to heart disease, As this STAT article mentions, "[t]he company will start by analyzing audio clips of patients reading aloud, but aims to develop technology that can extract vocal features without actually having to record the words. The goal, Harper said, is to “move the monitoring into the background and to collect some of that with devices that people already own.” Who knows how close they are to achieving this end, but it could be quite an interesting channel for remote diagnosis.

As always, if you come across news, announcements, videos, or podcasts that you think everyone else would benefit from, e-mail me at or tweet @R_Scott_Munro.

Quote of the Week

"For whatever success health tech companies did have during this era, it amounted to a rounding error relative to the incumbents. Looking back, it is clear that the existing value chain of the industry — where dollars flow from households, corporations, and the government through the pipes of medical and drug payers, ultimately depositing in the sinks of the suppliers (providers and life sciences companies) — was the real winner, by a long shot."

- Malay Ghandi, Ensemble Labs

Health Startup Digest is curated by:
R. Scott Munro

R. Scott Munro - Utility Infielder @ DocMatter

Contact R. Scott Munro at

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Building a big health tech company

Malay Gandhi - Medium

Malay Gandhi has been fairly quiet since leaving Rock Health some time ago. He's back with a vengeance with this article; there is a lot to unpack here from great data that we've come to expect from Rock Health (but expanded) to on point analysis. The main take away is that all of the digital health companies to date have only been shaving pennies off the bottom line for traditional players in health care, while those traditional players have profited handsomely. If you read one thing from the digest this week, make this it.

To Get Doctors to Do the Right Thing, Try Comparing Them to Their Peers

Laura Landro - WSJ

An interesting look at behavioral interventions to "nudge" physician behavior when necessary by using peer pressure. The WSJ article talks specifically of this nudge being used for over-prescribing antibiotics, but one could imagine this type of "peer pressure" technique in many situations. My worry would be the wrong peer pressure (for example patient satisfaction), which nudges doctors towards worse outcomes instead of better.

Where Pharma really sees the opportunity in digital healthcare.

Mark Hammond - Medium

Based on conversations with folks far smarter than me, one of the main areas of potential impact for digital health is in life sciences efficiency. This article is a quick set of punchy observations on areas of opportunity and challenges that pharma faces. A quick and incredibly informative read.

AthenaHealth's Plan To Fix Health Care Hinges On Tiny Hospitals

Christina Farr - FastCo

A great piece from Chrissy Farr on the future of AthenaHealth and how Jonathan Bush is attacking the market. The EHR market is clearly ripe for disruption given the utter lack of satisfaction among clinicians, and the insane implementation costs associated with these systems. I would say that Athena has a long way to go in terms of modules before they can adequetly sell to larger health systems, but it will be an epic (pun intended) fight to see how the market shapes up.

Wearable Biosensors Studied for Clinical Monitoring and Treatment

Bridget M. Kuehn, MSJ - JAMA

Sweat-based biosensing is not a new development, but this goes into some detail about the technology specifically for glucose monitoring. This has obvious benefits to traditional glucose monitoring techniques.

Insights in Detail: Plusses and Minuses of Value-Based Care

Insights Report - NEJM

A very interesting discussion on the pros and cons of value based care and the impacts it is having on physicians today.

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