Abbott provides industry knowledge to digital health startups


Venture Capital firm Rock Health announced that it is adding 8 digital health companies to its portfolio and partnering with three industry bigwigs, including Abbott ($ABT).

The new companies include Welkin Health, whose Android app enables diabetes patients to access free coaching and tailored advice from the company’s diabetes educators. Patients can share their progress with the educators by uploading photos of their meals and blood glucose readings via the app. The digital device allows the educators to work with many patients and gather additional knowledge that doctors may not have access to, Welkin says on its website.

Rock Health says Welkin recently entered into two partnerships with care organizations to prescribe the product to their patients.

New addition Acumen also takes advantage of the smartphone to provide personalized service from afar, this time for children with neurological disorders. The company invites parents to take guided videos of their child playing and complete a survey of his or her behavior. Then, an expert reviews the information and prepares a customized report and action plan that includes local resources. The company says it is conducting a study to verify the accuracy of its video-based approach to patient evaluation.

The other newly funded companies include two providers of platforms to ensure compliance with the HIPAA patient privacy law, a cloud-based data management company and a company that has an app for connecting patients and pharmacists, as well as two unnamed companies.

Abbott joins General Electric ($GE) and Genentech as the third major life science partner of Rock Health. The partners provide perspectives, insights and key resources to the portfolio companies, according to the VC firm’s website. The other new corporate partners are Blue Shield of California and Deloitte Consulting.

Rock Health says it now has 55 digital health companies in its portfolio, including San Francisco startup Augmedix, which this year received $3.2 million in venture funding to use Google Glass to help doctors more efficiently push information to electronic health record systems and seek information from them verbally.

– read the release