Encouraging Healthcare Apps

Encouraging Healthcare Apps

Startup Health, a new organization aiming to lift health-centered startups off the ground, could help wellness-related tech apps and programs see even bigger success.

Former Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin has created Startup Health, a child of his OrganizedWisdom company, which aims to invest in startups leveraging technology for health and wellness purposes. Startup Health plans to round up entrepreneurs, investors and organizations willing to guide health-focused startups to success, encouraging them to support fledgling companies with their time and money.

“It’s about getting the developers and investors to start putting their talent and money into this space in ways that will help us live healthier lives,” said Steven Krein, OrganizedWisdom’s CEO.

Levin’s old business partner, AOL founder Steve Case, is already heading a similar program for the Obama administration called Startup America, an initiative designed to support entrepreneurs in the tech field. Case and Levin worked together during the AOL-Time Warner merger in 2000, though Levin left his company ten years ago.

The two organizations will therefore collaborate, though they are not officially connected.

With mobile phones and tablets flooding the market, Krein says the health-related app and technology sector can only grow bigger. Their portability and ability to connect to cloud servers means mobile devices can provide vital medical and even casual health-related information to anyone, anywhere.

“There’s clearly a huge opportunity here,” Krein said. “We want to organize this movement.”

Already, tools like FitBit and Fooducate help people track exercise and meals, while more serious medical apps like ResolutionMD Mobile help doctors diagnose stroke patients with their iPhones. There are medical apps on the market to monitor blood pressure, heartbeat, even detect malaria and dengue fever symptoms.

Recently, drug companies have also ventured into new areas of medical technology, testing the bladder control drug Detrol with a group of patients recruited online. Participants won’t have to check into a clinic several times a day. Instead they will keep online journals of symptoms, thereby helping to reduce drug trial costs and ultimately enabling lower on-the-shelf prices.

As yet, according to Levin and Case, no ecosystem exists to support medical and health technology like in the gaming and social networking sphere. But they hope to change that as they work in tandem through Startup Health and Startup America.

Both men have a personal interest in the cause as well. Levin’s wife was instrumental in opening the Moonview Sanctuary, a holistic mental health center, and Case launched the online symptom-checker and information center Revolution Health. Levin has Parkinson’s disease and Case’s brother died of cancer, lending urgency to their jointly health-related missions.

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