Monthly Archives: March 2013

Charity Miles: Move and Earn Money for Charity

Charity Miles is a free app that donates money to a charity of your choosing (they have twenty you can pick from including Feeding America, Wounded Warrior Project and Habitat for Humanity) for every mile you walk, run or bike. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile, up to Charity Miles’ initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool. The app tracks you via GPS and is very accurate, so hit the pavement and take it for a spin.

My run yesterday raised $1.08 for Stand Up To Cancer. While a dollar might not seem much, for Feeding America, $1 = 8 meals. If you are going to move around, open the app on your phone and let your workout benefit a good cause.

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Nike+ Accelerator: 10 Companies Bringing Health and Fitness to a New Level

NIKE announced this week that they’ve chosen 10 companies to participate in its Nike+ Accelerator program, co-facilitated with startup accelerator, TechStars. Nike filtered through hundreds of applications to create the following list:

  • FitDeck: Digital decks of exercise playing cards that deliver ever-changing workouts for fitness and sports.
  • GoRecess: Helps users find, book and review fitness activities.
  • An indie game studio that creates virtual worlds tied to real-world activity.
  • CoachBase: Provides a digital sports coaching platform.
  • FitCause: Leverages fitness data as a means of raising money for charities.
  • HighFive: Ad network for health and fitness apps that helps people achieve their goals by rewarding them along their journey.
  • Sprout At Work: Provider of corporate wellness solutions leveraging social and gamification tools to inspire employees and empower employers.
  • GeoPalz: An interactive gaming and rewards platform for kids and families.
  • Incomparable Things: Creates activity-driven fantasy sports leagues.
  • RecBob: Offers a platform that makes recreational sports easy by organizing play.

These companies will present their businesses at two investor Demo Days in June (one at the Nike World Headquarters and one in Silicon Valley) and I look forward to seeing their progress these next three months.

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Zeel: Book a Massage Therapist for a Same Day Home Visit

With services becoming more on-demand (i.e. telehealth, same-day doctor appointments), it makes sense for there to be an interruption in the massage industry as well. Zeel is a “Massage On Demand” service where you can book a same-day, in-home massage online or through the Zeel app (coming soon). The Zeel Massage Therapist can go to your home, hotel or office and you pay one set price that includes tax and tip. The massage therapist brings their own supplies and table, and you just have to provide the linens, a towel, a pillow and some space. Right now the service is offered in parts of New York City and the company has indicated that it will start to roll out to other places in the United States soon.

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Interview: Jack Challis, CEO & Co-Founder of CliniCast

With all these new health monitoring devices and apps appearing in the past five years, it is becoming easier to track your own health with increased awareness of your daily activity levels and eating history. But behind the scenes, there are companies that are trying to predict your future health needs and help providers identify patients that could benefit from early interventions to prevent future hospitalizations.

As Jack Challis, CEO & Co-Founder of CliniCast, describes his company’s vision, “It is about how to find patients that are going to get sick before they get sick so providers can intervene and get them better preventative care, which lowers their future health costs and costs to the healthcare system.”

Jack was always very interested in cost management, “I wanted to know why healthcare was so expensive – why we get such low outcomes for such a tremendous expenditure of resources. I wanted to attack and mitigate overutilization, inadequate care delivered in inappropriate settings and patients being managed poorly.”

CliniCast sells its ARTO analytical system to at-risk providers. The online platform uses demographics, claims data, lab results, pharmacy usage and text notes to find patterns that might lead to high risk patients. These patients can then be matched to available preventative care (i.e. educational programs, peer mentoring and medication management).

So why healthcare and why now? Jack explains, “Traditionally one of the least utilized resources in patient management has been data, and we see an opportunity to use that data to make people healthier.” The most important thing for him and CliniCast is to prove that the model can allocate resources more efficiently.

As a patient, you can also help the system by keeping a detailed record of your health data on one electronic medical record and staying educated and informed on which interventions really matter to your health (i.e. changing your lifestyle if you are a diabetic to better manage your condition). We can all work to improve the healthcare system and as you are doing your part, know that there are companies like CliniCast in the background also helping.

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Wello: Workouts Anywhere, Anytime, with a Personal Trainer

Wello makes it easy to exercise anywhere with an internet connection. All you need is a computer with a webcam and a little space to move. My workout with pilates instructor, Kate, was great – we only had 30 minutes so she jumped right in after gauging my experience and asking me what I wanted to focus on.

Aside from a few technical difficulties – our video stream froze several times, the workout was easy to book online, the video set-up was quick to configure and Kate was prompt and motivational.

Things I really liked about Wello:

  • Ability to export my scheduled workout information onto my calendar
  • Ease in scheduling workouts by viewing trainers’ calendars and picking from their allotted availability
  • Having one-on-one training and an expert’s attention in my living room

Personally, I like working out with a group – not just for the company but also for the price point. Wello now offers Group Workouts, which I think is a wonderful idea. Last Tuesday I signed up for a Sunday morning hardcore yoga group class. The minimum number of joiners was 3, and the class easily filled up to four participants. And then one person dropped – but that was okay because we still had three. On Sunday morning at 6AM I got an email reminding me to get ready for my workout. At 8AM I got an email saying that one more person dropped and that my 10AM workout was cancelled. For anyone who has tried to get out of a workout slump, there is nothing worse than planning to go to a group class and then having it be canceled.

To me, Wello is the at-home alternative to driving 3 miles downtown to do a yoga class, for the same price of $15. Would a yoga studio with a weekly yoga class cancel their class because only a few people showed up? No. If you pre-paid for a yoga class and didn’t show up, would you get your money back? No. So for group workouts, if the minimum number of participants is met and someone drops out 24-hours before the Wello class, I think there should be no refunds given and the class should go on. That way there is an incentive for the participant to go to a workout she paid for, the teacher gets paid the full amount for teaching a filled class AND the rest of the group doesn’t get penalized and lose their expected workout.

Overall, I think Wello is a great concept and I’m looking forward to using it more, especially during cold east coast winters when working out at home sounds much better than venturing outside to go to the gym.

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Omnio: Medical Knowledge at your Fingertips

Physicians Interactive is a leader in healthcare information and mobile decision support tools, and through their acquisition of, they have recently launched the app Omnio. Omnio for the iPad creates a medical information and news dashboard and lets users customize it through an impressive drug and news offering. There is a comprehensive drug guide (including a drug interaction analyzer), over 200 essential medical calculators, clinical text references and articles if you want to dig a little deeper into diseases and medications and a continuous, curated news stream focused on your interests. The app is especially useful for healthcare professionals who need specific information daily, but I found it just as engaging – especially the medical calculators.

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Interview: Alex Frommeyer, Beam Technologies CEO – Using Sensors to Add Consistency to Brushing

Beam Technologies has created a tech enabled toothbrush to engage people with their oral health and wellness routine. The Beam Brush and app sync together to capture the length and start time of each brush.

Alex Frommeyer, Beam CEO, describes the product as “taking the most fundamental data on brushing and oral care compliance and using that data to help users with their consistency, connect users to their dentist / hygienist and to also engage users with an incentives model.” The app rewards good, consistent, daily brushing with incentives including movie tickets and shopping deals.

Later in the year, Alex and his team will begin to talk more publicly about using the toothbrush as a platform. He makes an excellent point in saying “Brushing your teeth regularly makes the toothbrush a daily touch point. If you brush twice a day for 2 minutes each, roughly every 12 hours you have 2 minutes of unforced interaction with a product. The next thing for us to do (by early 2014) is to introduce additional sensors into the toothbrush to observe other physical metrics.”

Focused mostly on the hardware piece last year, for 2013 Beam will also work on building out a more intensive version of the Beam Brush mobile app, enabling push notifications and reminders for oral health, including flossing.

So what inspired this idea? Fascinated by building devices, Alex and his team wanted to develop something that would create real value while making sensors more mainstream. As Alex puts it, “The most important piece about Beam is that we want to make everyday activities part of improving your health. We don’t want to ask our customers to do brand new things to improve their health – we want to improve their current routines.”

You can purchase the Beam Brush online through the website and on

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