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Health - Startup Digest - August 19th - August 26th

Startup Digest


August 19, 2016

Startup Highlight: 3Scan

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
"How come as a patient, we’re always last in line to the data? How come my doctors and the university researchers can see my tumor genome and I can’t? Why are there so many barriers for getting access to my own data? No one really sees the problems with getting access to your own data, until you’re in the hot seat."
- Steven Keating, The Open Patient

"Mobile applications, or apps, have the potential to help patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions manage their health better. But as currently designed, health apps can present challenges to the vulnerable populations who would likely benefit the most, including the poor and patients with low levels of health literacy. An observational study of adults using apps to manage their chronic conditions found that patients could complete only a minority of tasks without any assistance."
- The Commonwealth Fund

Health Startup Digest is curated by:
R. Scott Munro

R. Scott Munro - MBA Candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Contact R. Scott Munro at

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Usability of Commercially Available Mobile Applications for Diverse Patients

The Commonwealth Fund

Innovating for at risk populations is a real problem in medicine, because often we are innovating for populations that can easily access and use technology. A study put out by the Commonwealth Fund proves this theory by looking at how a number of chronic disease patients interacted with various health applications. Spoiler alert, they did not interact very well.

What is the Future for DIY Medical Devices?

Dan Jenkins - Medical Design Technology

DIY devices have actually always been a part of medicine, the first surgeons often innovated with what they had around them to improve patient care. Innovation of this kind happens because of a combination of economic need and pure ingenuity. Dan Jenkins discusses some talks that have been given on the subject, and trends in the "maker" movement in medicine more broadly.

The Open Patient: Healing through sharing

Red Hat Videos - YouTube

I don't usually throw in patient stories on this, but this is a touching story of technology. This video, "tells the story of two brain cancer patients who, by accessing and sharing their medical data, are turning their crises into a movement. Through their advocacy for open healthcare data standards—along with the innovative work of the OpenNotes organization—millions of patients can take control of their healthcare."

Does Digital Health Need Reimbursement?

Dale Van Demark - The National Law Review

This is an interesting discussion of the merits of reimbursing for digital health tools. The author points out that on one hand, as we move to capitated models, these tools will be incentivized as a means to reduce overall costs, and therefore may not need reimbursement; on the other hand, reimbursement would most definitely incentivize innovation in the space directly. The article is a bit dry, but a great read.

Points for Pills: Walgreens Hopes Gamelike Program Will Make Taking Meds Easier

Lisa Schencker - Chicago Tribune

Medication adherence is not a simple problem to fix. A large number of medical adherence issues do not result from forgetting to take medication, rather, they result from an active choice to not take said medication. This is a much harder problem to solve for. Education is certainly one piece, but Walgreens is hoping gamification can also help with the problem. This article from the Chicago Tribune goes into some details on Walgreens' partnership with HealthPrize.

Obamacare Patients Filled More Prescriptions but Paid Less for Drugs, Study Finds

Noam N. Levey - LA Times

There has been a lot of negative press over the ACA, so it was refreshing to read a study that demonstrated some positive results from the legislation. As the LA Times article points out, the study found that previously uninsured patients ended up paying less out of pocket for prescription drugs after gaining coverage through the ACA. It's not all sunshine and roses, obviously, and this is just one aspect of the potential benefit of the legislation. 

Remember operator billing?

Operator billing was once thought to be the perfect mobile commerce platform. But for various reasons, it failed to pick up traction. Learn why, and find out about the new future of m-commerce, here.

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