What we're thinking about

August, 2014

Google Fit, Apple’s HealthKit and WebMD’s Healthy Target enter the digital health realm with one strikingly similar idea: providing a centralized place for users to track health metrics and aggregating that data.

Why now?

Prior to this year, Apple and WebMD have not made targeted efforts to streamline health tracking across different platforms. While Google made an attempt in 2008 with Google Health, a personal health records service, it was unsuccessful. Recent trends such as the big data revolution, increased pressure to cut healthcare costs, and the meteoric growth of the digital health industry have made the environment more conducive to healthcare innovation.

What does this mean for Klio Health?

The media is quick to speculate, freely pouring in their grim prognoses for healthcare startups. That, however, is far from true - Klio sees several opportunities to benefit:

1. The digital health market has been further validated

The fact that Apple, Google and WebMD are keen to enter the healthcare industry proves that digital health is not an ephemeral trend that can be blown away by a gust of wind: it is here to stay. Clearly, the larger players in tech now also recognize the potential of IT solutions to increase efficiency and lower costs in healthcare. This validation helps Klio and other startups in developing hospital and clinic partnerships.

2. Collaboration, not competition

It is easy to see a company like Apple as competition to digital health startups simply because they are operating in the same space, but it is important to distinguish substitute from complement. With corporations like Apple and Google providing the infrastructure to support an ecosystem of different tools and applications that share data with each other, startups can now capitalize on that framework to create innovative new services that consume that data. For example, with HealthKit’s API, Klio has easier access to passively-collected data such as activity levels and sleep quality that can be placed in context of a patient’s self-reported information regarding the symptoms and treatments of a particular chronic condition.

3. They need us

As has been shown with the success of Apple’s App Store, any ecosystem needs a community of innovators. In HealthKit’s case, Apple realizes that alone, it could not adequately address issues as complex and wide-ranging as administrative workflow, care delivery, electronic medical records, patient data capture and telemedicine on its own, much less develop tools that target specific condition areas or patient populations. With their unique offerings, companies large and small create value for the ecosystem. By bringing patient-generated health data into a clinical context, Klio makes the data available through HealthKit actionable for care providers.

What is next?

The industry is shifting. For too long, innovators in digital health have neglected to fully consider the use of health tracking solutions beyond the “worried well” demographic. For healthcare innovation to truly have impact, companies will also need to address populations that consume the most services and resources. While Apple and Google are just starting to realize that there is more to healthcare than nurturing the worried well with health tracking applications, Klio has already recognized the opportunity in improving health outcomes by bringing patient-generated information into the context of managing chronic conditions.

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Welcome to Klio Health! Many of you might know us through the work we did at Ubiqi Health and are probably wondering why we decided to rebrand the company.

Ubiqi Health started as a graduate school project to test the utility of consumer-facing mobile applications in helping people better self-manage their chronic conditions. Through iterations of our pain and migraine tracking applications, we saw that we were indeed serving a need, but as we delved into the data and spoke with our users, we learned that there was much more to be done and a larger opportunity beyond standalone tracking apps. Here are the top three lessons that we learned:

1. Digital health tools have limited use without provider involvement.

Consumers are undeniably strong drivers of adoption of new digital health tools, but we saw that those who benefited the most from self-tracking were those who shared their information with their care providers. The challenge is to ensure that information is presented to providers in useful, actionable ways.

 

2. One size does not fit all.

As we interviewed and surveyed clinicians who were using our applications with their patients, we saw that they each wanted to capture something different or preferred to view data in a particular way. We realized that we needed to be flexible to suit the varying needs of our provider users.

 

3. Focus drives traction, but it does not scale.

We had strong following from the migraine and pain communities, but we struggled with the question of what it would take to adapt our platform for different conditions. While there were merits in having an early focus as we tested our model, we learned that our product had to be designed in a way that supported multiple conditions from the start.

After careful consideration, we incorporated these learnings into the new product we are set to launch this fall. The new Klio Health product drives evidence-based management of chronic conditions through the standardized collection of patient generated health data. By empowering healthcare providers and their patients through an easy, standardized system for collecting information about patient symptoms and therapies between visits, we help them collaboratively make informed decisions about treatment plans.

Our new direction was enough of a departure from what we were doing at Ubiqi to warrant a re-launch of the brand and product, and from this this point forward, we will continue our journey as Klio Health. We are glad to have you along with us as we move forward on our mission to foster sharing and partnership between individuals and their care providers.

Stay tuned for more news!

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