Digital Health has had a major boom recently. Investors are pouring money into companies that may bring them a win. I think this area has great promise.

Technology is transforming healthcare and the investments from investors are becoming more and more popular.  You have seen articles around the web on apps for kidney transplantsdigital tools that help companies offer better healthcare and using the internet for questions to health answers of doctors.

Companies like Rockhealth and Blueprint Health are shaping this area of healthcare. Applied Proteomics just received and investment of $28 million from Genting Berhad, Domain Associates, Vulcan Capital.

With all of the Digital Health start-ups out there, it is very easy to lose your way. True and timely innovation evolves around a few central areas that apply to clinical practice.

We now have a ton of choices in terms of which apps and services to choose from. In this post, we look at 14 key areas of these technologies that we think will transform medicine.

Electronic Medical Records and EHR's

EMR's  differ from web applications like Twitter for example, in that they can directly affect patient outcomes.

Prioritizing patient care is a natural consequence when the EMR is built with the intent of facilitating the patient-physician relationship and focusing on the physician so the the physician can focus on the patient. Kyna Fong - ElationEMR

Companies that are keeping  patient outcomes a priority included the following:

ElationEMR, GEHealthcare, Curemd and Drchrono and 5 O'Clock Records, CareCloud offers web-based EHR's, revenue cycle management, and practice management solutions

DoseSpot is an e-prescribing platform.  Medopad and Practice Fusion are  EMR's  marketed to doctors and groups.

Sensors

Our bodies have sensors that are built-in for the most of us. The sense of smell, taste, touch, sight and sound are things that most of us depend on daily. Can we extend our senses in ways that will allow us to gather useful data?

Three areas:  passive data gathering, meaningful use or interpretation and aggregation are things that companies are working currently working on. Companies (and these aren't the only ones) that have great potential in these areas are:

Sano Intelligence,  Cardiio,  MC10,  AliveCor,  Apple and  GEHealthimagination,  AgaMatrix,  Proteus.

Medical Education

Education is evolving, and I am a big-advocate of the Khan Academie's approaches to teaching. Companies that are innovating on this front and encompassing tactics like crowdsourcing, p-2-peer learning and really taking advantage of the 'digital soup' are:

Boardvitals and  AgileMD

Storage and Secure Sharing of Information

Box is a platform that is HIPAA and HITECH compliant for Protected Personal Health Information (PHI).

Provider's Tools

More and more providers continue to jump on board with the new tools that are out there. Two that are particularly interesting are:

Clinicast and Reify Health (currently in beta)

Patient Communities

patient communities

We are social creatures by nature. Patient communities are positioning themselves as leaders in a broad sense or as an extension of care for a particular disease. Three that are doing this are:

Patienslikeme, Chronology and Smart Patients 

Chronic disease management

A major goal is a reduction in the cost of chronic illness is a major goal. Focusing on the patient population's that are the highest-cost is an approach that a few companies are taking. Chronic Disease management, can be better managed by taking advantage of extenders will take on the task of supporting these patients.

Patients  that have chronic illness have varied needs.  They need planned, regular interactions with their caregivers, with a focus on function and prevention of exacerbations and complications. An extender like a Health Coach provides ongoing organized assessments that foster compliance with the treatment plan.

Another issue of importance is behavioral modification, and a  support system for the patient. These interactions must be linked through time by clinically relevant information systems and continuing follow-up initiated by the medical practice.

A few companies that are doing this are:

Omada Health, Wallgreens and Safeway Health

Big Data Management and analytics

Anapsis and EMBI, which focuses on ED analytics. This service is customizable for every client.

Behavioral Health Analytics

behaviors health

Photo source: Ginger.io blog

Health behaviors are the way of the future. We all have different habits, and I believe that those everyday habits are a major determinant of the path one will take in terms of health and wellness. Our trusted buddy the mobile, will make use of sensor technology to gather passive and active data for analysis and reflection. Much of this can be done with the help of an extender.

Ginger.io is an example of an up and coming Behavioral analytics platform. Ginger.io examines patterns of everyday activity which are used as points of entry for understanding larger issues like mental health.

Payment Systems and costs

New payment systems will be in demand to match the changing landscape of healthcare.  Some of the problems that are being addressed range from payments for medications to transparent billing systems.  Solutions from the companies listed below are spot-on:

Medmonk, Medikly, Simplee, Cake Health, Castlight Healthcare and SwiftPayMD.

Truculent Diagnostics Tools

We can always take advantage of what's around us.  A few new technologies are building upon mobile phones to add diagnostic capabilities to a physician's arsenal. One company that looks promising is Cellscope.

Proteus Digital Health takes endoscopy to a new level. A small sensor that you swallow sends information to your mobile about how a drug is being taken - FDA approved.

Dexcom monitors blood glucose with a sensor that's neatly tucked under the skin of the abdomen - FDA approved.

Nephosity - imaging - FDA approved.

Telemedicine

Teladoc, you can get a consult from a physician via video. Teladoc,  is bringing this over to the 'brick and mortar' side by working on the development of walk-in kiosks for patients.

Grid Computing World

Community Grid for grid computing.

Care Delivery

Delivery of care can always be improved.  Some of the winners in this area are:

One Medical, Sherpaa, Metamed (personalized medical research) and Statphone for patient transfers.

Transitional Care

"Care transitions" is a term that describes the flow of patients from clinical settings  to  settings relative to their needs. As you know a patient's needs change over time.

Patients may encounter a Primary Care Provider, a hospital physician, the nursing team and then they are "wheeled" off to a skilled nursing facility.  The top promising companies in the area of Care Transistions are:

Care At Hand, Independa and OpenPlacement

These companies are building apps and services that will bring new possibilities for transformation. Add a company that you think will impact healthcare in the comment section below.

PS. We are working on a product that will keep you current in this exciting area.  Enter your email, and you’ll be the first to know when it launches. Digital Health Weekly.