The last few years have strained healthcare systems; 2022 brings continued investment in new technologies to adapt and modernize ways of delivering care. The startups featured below represent key industry trends for the year ahead.
The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on the inequalities in the healthcare ecosystem. Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), the social and economic conditions that affect a wide range of health and quality-of life-risks and outcomes, has become a buzzword. Gaja Health is a virtual-first provider bringing equitable whole-person care to “emerging risk” Medicaid members. Their preventative services are led by trusted local Community Health Workers (CHWs) who provide coaching and support for health-related social needs guided by each member’s top priorities. Any identified clinical or behavioral health gaps are addressed via an in-house team of culturally competent providers and partnerships in the local community. Leveraging conversational AI, machine learning, and custom-built software, Gaja Health is building a nimble CHW workforce to improve quality of care, provide better data, and drive down costs for health plan customers.
In the United States, 38,000 women of all ages and ethnicities die every year from breast cancer due to delayed diagnosis - and that was calculated before the effects of the pandemic could be considered. Not only does this cost precious lives, but it’s also an incredible burden on the healthcare system. And it costs payors $163 billion due to late diagnoses and the associated healthcare costs. Gabbi aims to solve both problems through an AI-enabled, community-based approach to holistic disease assessment and management. Gabbi aggregates meaningful data to provide personalized assessments, tailored action plans, and engaging communities. Gabbi’s mission is to empower women to understand their bodies, manage their health, and proactively seek the care they need in order to decrease the rate of delayed diagnosis and disease incidence. Gabbi is starting with breast cancer and will expand to other (preventable) cancers as well as preventable syndromes like endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
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DNA will play an important role in healthcare as genetic tests will increasingly inform treatment decisions. Prenome uses genetics and social determinants of health to predict potential women’s health issues and help women manage their risk through an easy-to-use and interactive research-backed companion app. While Prenome plans to address issues from pregnancy complications to chronic conditions, they are starting with a common and significant problem – the development of diabetes during pregnancy called gestational diabetes. Currently, women with gestational diabetes are given out-of-date handouts, instructions, and diaries to track meals, snacks and blood sugars. Prenome plans to identify people at high risk for gestational diabetes before or early in pregnancy and then work with them to avoid the hormonal changes that lead to high blood sugars.
While the growing popularity of genomics is exciting, the field faces a major hurdle when it comes to data analysis and the availability of expensive, specialized, hard-to-find labor to write scripts that can be thousands of lines of code and maintain custom reference datasets. Drift Biotechnologies makes software to quickly and easily analyze microbial genomes in the cloud. For companies that already have a bioinformatician, Drift eliminates grunt work to allow bioinformaticians to focus on higher-order tasks. In addition, Drift offers companies who have sequencers to add a new product line for microbiology without purchasing any new hardware.
As every call center now uses AI to move customers through the queue, it can be frustrating and time-consuming to complete a task without a human on the other end. For health providers, insurance verification and benefits/billing questions are tedious tasks to support patient care. With staff burnout and shortages at an all-time high, tech solutions are needed to help providers work smarter. MajorBoost automates insurance phone calls and gives users the information they need in a convenient format.
The other major headache for healthcare providers is charting. Whether in person or via telemedicine, providers need to document the medical appointment, prescriptions, referrals, and next steps in an electronic record. DeepScribe uses AI to decrease the time doctors have to spend on digitizing their notes while producing more accurate results. The use of voice tech is expected to increase as Cerner, a leading electronic health record company, announced plans to expand clinical voice assistants to physicians and similar technologies are being offered to support patients with medication reminders, care triaging, and more via smart home devices.
In some parts of healthcare, the fax machine still reigns supreme and services are delivered during standard office hours when patients themselves are busy working and cannot manage their care. For patients that need extra support to access and stay on medications, these barriers lead to abandoned prescriptions. Redi.health is a health management platform that provides pharma’s enrolled patients with simplified and impactful lifestyle tools that promote daily engagement with one’s total health.
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While healthcare is getting easier to access and becoming more culturally sensitive, the industry still lags behind in key areas, such as billing and payments. Someone can order a taxi, get groceries delivered, and set up “buy now, pay later” payment plans for retail purchases, all from the comfort of a smartphone. But trying to receive, understand, and pay a healthcare bill? It’s a mess! Peachy leverages digital, text-delivered bills and automated payment plans to make it fast and easy for patients to pay their medical bills, whether that’s in full or spread out over a few months. And for the majority of small-to-medium healthcare providers that are still relying on mailed paper bills to collect patient responsibility payments, Peachy helps them collect better and provide patients the modern, pain-free payment experience they deserve.
While data interoperability continues to vex the healthcare industry, new solutions in automation offer critical improvements for enhanced collaboration, visibility, and trust in data. Using AI-powered knowledge graphs to standardize and contextualize healthcare operations data in near real-time, Dyad provides applications that address administrative complexity, care coordination, and payer-provider workflows. Another reason to be excited by healthcare automation is the role these solutions will play in the transformation to value-based care models.
As patients have become comfortable with telemedicine, they are now seeking on-demand care that doesn’t require an appointment. At the same time, providers are increasingly turning to social media to share medical information in consumer-friendly ways thereby building their personal brands, building new revenue streams for themselves and their practices, and becoming influencers. Waspito is building upon these trends to increase access to care and support patient engagement in Africa through an innovative telemedicine platform.
Innovation in the healthcare industry is happening. Don’t be left behind.
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