Monthly Archives: September 2012

DermLink: Answers About Your Skin in 24 Hours

Telemedicine is another field leveraging smart phones to bring doctors faster to your aid. DermLink is an online platform where you can upload images of suspicious skin conditions and within 24 hours hear back from a local dermatologist. Although restricted to the website for now, an iPhone and Android app is in the works.

What’s neat is that the DermLink software automatically checks for picture quality and rejects unusable and blurry photos. Also, it only takes about 5 minutes to submit your case. What’s not so neat is getting charged $99 upfront for my self referral. While the process of getting a referral from my next general check up and then seeing a dermatologist may take up to six months and $40 in copays, since I have no immediate concerns, I think I’ll just wait it out.

Still, if something important comes up and I can’t wait to go through my primary doctor, I’ll be using DermLink immediately.


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stickK: How Well Does Money Motivate?

As discussed in an August post on stickK and GymPact, money is one motivator that is becoming more prominent in health and wellness.

As I described previously: On, when you don’t hit your workout goals or weight goals for the week, your credit card gets charged and money is sent to a person or an organization you initially select. If you hit your weekly goal, no money is lost or gained.

After my post I was asked to be the receiver of funds for a diet challenge. For every week a pound was not lost, I would get $5.00. Here is the feedback my friend gave after the program was over:

  • Program worked really well, but she set an unrealistic goal for herself and couldn’t modify it midway.
  • She wanted to get to a certain weight by a specific date but the site changed it so the goal became more exact – to lose 11 lbs in 11 weeks, one pound a week. This meant if she had a bad week she would be penalized.
  • If she was to do it again, it would be for a shorter time period – 6 to 8 weeks, not 11.
  • Would she set it up to pay out more money? No.
  • Her biggest change: Users should get a pass week (to stay flat in weight loss) on their goal if there is a holiday or event in the middle of the program. Her birthday was in the middle of her challenge, and after a slip, she couldn’t get back on track.


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Interview: Dr. Wayne Guerra, iTriage Co-Founder & Chief Medical Officer

I interviewed iTriage Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Wayne Guerra, and we touched upon how he and Dr. Peter Hudson came up with the idea for iTriage and how the business continues to innovate. Throughout the conversation it was clear how passionate Dr. Guerra feels about the Company’s mission to empower people with their health management.

iTriage’s  patented “Symptom-to-Provider™” pathway provides information on thousands of symptoms, diseases, and medical procedures for people to filter through, and then directs the user to the proper site for treatment (be it the hospital, urgent care facility, physician office, etc.).

What sparked your interest in co-founding this company?

Both founders have extensive experience in emergency medicine and as Dr. Guerra puts it, “We were frustrated with patients not having the information they wanted and needed to make their own decisions.” As the iPhone gained popularity, Wayne and Peter saw a way to make the healthcare delivery system more efficient by giving patients the proper roadmap — leading them to the right place for treatment and follow up. “When patients are actively involved, that’s how you are going to change behavior and keep them healthier.”

By the numbers, Dr. Guerra notes that, “iTriage has one of the highest retention rates in the Android and iPhone market, and we have a user base that is growing quickly.”

Just a few other stats:

  • 19,000 doctors on the platform
  • 7 million downloads, with over 3 million usage sessions a month
  • 60,000 customer reviews
  • 4.5/5 stars in average user ratings on the iTunes App store

Talk about adding Harvard Medical School as a Content Review Partner

Last week, Harvard Medical School completed an extensive review of iTriage’s medical content. Dr. Guerra comments, “It validates what we are doing. People worry because there is so much health information on the web and in terms of trust, it brings us validity and gives our users a peace of mind that all the information has been reviewed by a third party.”

Let’s talk…Expansion!

When asked about new expansion areas, Dr. Guerra responded, “When we add a new feature, we always ask: Is this feature going to help people make a better healthcare decision? That is our mantra.”


Stop by the Health 2.0 Conference in SF next month to watch iTriage debut its new EHR agnostic patient engagement tool, with Mark Bertolini, Chairman, CEO & President of Aetna.

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Proteus: Ingestible Sensors – The New Age of e-Pills

Proteus Digital Health makes ingestible sensors, embedded in the medications you normally take. The sensor is powered by your stomach fluids (works like a potato battery) and captures information regarding the foods you eat and how your body reacts to them. You wear a separate disposable patch, which acts as a receiver, and it takes the data from the ingested sensor and sends that information to your mobile device. The patch also measures your heart rate, activity, and rest.

This past July, Proteus received FDA market clearance and has been used without adverse events in multiple clinical trials. Still too science fiction for your taste? The sensor doesn’t stay in your body – it passes like high-fiber food, and the patch has a life span of seven days. The company is working on making the sensor provide more detailed feedback on how your body reacts to daily food and medication intake, both of which can lead to more effective and individualized treatment plans.

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Foster: Medication Reminder & Cheapest Med Finder

Foster is a medication reminder for your phone. What sets it apart from other apps is that it also finds the cheapest prices for your meds based on your location. Foster is the newest app released by Thryve, whose highly anticipated mobile food coach is expected launch this fall.

The more consistently you take your medications on time, the better your Foster tree looks.


CarePass isn’t live yet on Foster, but hopefully it will be soon. CarePass is a one stop platform where you can track the outcomes of multiple devices including iTriage and MapMyFitness.


1) GoodRx automatically finds the cheapest price for your drug in your specified location.
2) For stores like Kmart that have a coupon, GoodRx pulls that up for you as well.
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Lumosity: Brain Games! (for Cognitive Enhancement)

Lumosity lets you pick which cognitive areas you want to improve on and then gives you specific games to play each day to work on those areas. When you sign up you get 3 free days of training. Each day’s session will have three to five exercises targeted to improve on the priorities you selected.

The games are developed by neuroscientists, and the site claims 25 million users. If you like what you see, you can get more days of training via a subscription based payment model. At the end of August, Lumosity raised $31.5 million in Series D funding, bringing total company funding to over $70 million to date.

I tried the Speed Match game, which was quite interesting. My only issue was that the flashcards used Chinese characters and I found myself trying to read the cards versus matching them…maybe they are testing me on multiple levels!

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iTriage: Your Answer to “What’s wrong with me?”

My biggest concern with healthcare apps is that there are too many of the same thing, and no easy way to integrate the data from one application to another. Is there a place to keep my exercise goals (GPS’d runs), my weight goals (Withings scale), my health information including my medications (HealthVault), my insurance information (Simplee), AND find doctors in my area (like ZocDoc) when I need immediate attention…all in one place? Well maybe not those specific apps, but iTriage is trying to consolidate all these health information areas into one platform.

Aetna acquired Healthagen, the developer of iTriage in late 2011. The app does a good job of letting users narrow down symptoms and book doctor’s visits. iTriage also shows wait times for some emergency rooms, lets users pre-register for some ER departments, and also stores personal health records in Microsoft’s HealthVault.

The iPad-specific version of the iTriage app launched in June 2012.

The website version of the program layers in choices horizontally, so you can view and retrace your path through various symptoms.

The app is free, which is great for user implementation, but I wonder if a paid app (when you aren’t already paying for a physical product or a service) holds higher usage and retention rates. After all, if I pay for an app, even if it is only a dollar, I generally tend to use it more.

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