Category: hacking healthcare

From The Lab To Your Home


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


My family has a history of irregular heartbeats, from PVCs to AFIBs. So when I saw my cardiologist recently, I asked him how I could track my beats. I have worn a Holter Monitor a few times and did not want to do that again unless it was absolutely necessary. He pointed me to this Kardia Mobile device which I purchased on Amazon a few weeks ago.

This Kardia Mobile 6L device is remarkable. It delivers a “6 lead” EKG reading into your smartphone by putting the device on your knee and pressing both thumbs on it. I realize that 6 leads is not the same as what you get with a Holter Monitor or an EKG in your doctor’s office. But it is really amazing because it is so easy to use in your own home. It is the size of an Apple TV remote, maybe even a tad smaller. I just email my cardiologist the result and he tells me what is going on without him having to take fifteen minutes or more to see me and without me having to visit his office.

This is just one example of the revolution underway in health care. Driven by advances in technology, a computer in everyone’s pocket, ongoing changes in the healthcare system accelerated by the pandemic, among other forcing functions, we are seeing more and more healthcare being accessed in our homes vs in the doctor’s office.

This does not mean that doctors are needed less. I think (Read more...)

Optimizing Health Care


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


Last week, I had to clear my calendar for two days and spend them in doctors’ offices and radiology labs. I developed a kidney stone last week and my doctors and I wanted to understand how large and where it was. The answer is 4mm and it was somewhere between my kidney and bladder as of last Thursday. That may be more information than you need to know.

Over four appointments, I experienced how much progress we have made during the pandemic and how much more we have to go before we have a high functioning software powered health care system in the US.

The good news is that for all four of my appointments, I was able to check into them via an app on my phone and in most cases, leverage stored information in apps on my phone to complete most of the forms. The stack of forms that we all usually complete when arriving at a new doctor has been reduced significantly during the pandemic, but it is not yet zero. I still had to complete at least one paper form at three of my four appointments.

The pandemic has forced health care providers to use mobile apps and software to automate much of the check-in functionality and that is great news. The fact that they only went 90% of the way there is a bit depressing though.

I also got most of my test results delivered into an app on my phone. But not the ultrasound (Read more...)

Digital Birth Control


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


Our portfolio company Clue announced yesterday that they have received FDA approval for a digital birth control feature.

Clue’s mobile app is used by over 13mm women around the world to track their monthly cycle and this new FDA approved feature, called Clue Birth Control, will be offered as a premium feature in the Clue app.

While Clue Birth Control is not 100% effective, it is an alternative to more invasive forms of birth control. It requires nothing more than regular inputting of the start date of a woman’s cycle.

Here are some comparison’s of its efficacy:

Clue says the product has been shown to be 92% effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy under ‘typical use’ and 97% effective under ‘perfect use’ — referencing the standard research terminology for measuring contraception effectiveness (the latter meaning the product is used exactly as instructed every time the woman has sex vs ‘typical’ use which accounts for some usage slip-ups).

What those percentages mean in practice is that under typical use, eight couples out of 100 would be predicted to get pregnant over a year of use of Clue’s digital birth control. While — in the perfect use scenario — the failure rate would be three out of 100 over a year’s use.

(For comparison, Natural Cycles says its product is 93% effective under typical use and 98% effective under perfect use; while — per the Guttmacher Institute‘s US study — the pill is 93% effective under typical use and 99% effective under (Read more...)