Home' Australasian BioTechnology : Vol 27 No 2 Contents Australasian BioTechnology | Volume 27 | Number 2
readily accepted that many digital healthcare start-
ups won't survive, often losing steam before reaching
Series A funding. And it appears that experience in
healthcare does count when it comes to attracting
investors, with Rock Health reporting in mid 2016 that
the companies taking out the top six largest deals
were founded, on average, 10 years ago.1
For start-ups, once issues of technical feasibility,
safety and patent protection are satisfied, investors
will assess the technology on its ability to make a real
difference in patients' lives and address the mounting
cost pressures on health systems.
The two key questions investors will ask of any new
health technology are:
1. Will it lead to better health outcomes for patients?
2. Will it provide a more cost-effective way of
delivering care, reducing the burden on our health
As innovators, if we're able to answer 'yes' to both
of these questions, then it's likely that the new
technology, by making health care both more effective
and efficient, will be attractive to investors. But this is
easier said than done.
Health care presents unique business challenges, with
more regulations than most industries and a complex
ecosystem of decision-makers to satisfy.
Just having a novel solution to a problem is not
enough; you have to understand who will use it, who
will pay for it and who you may need to partner with
to make it all happen. Investors will be looking for
scalable business models built on the priorities of
users, payers and channel partners that control the
Demonstrating efficacy is also paramount. In health
care, clinical validation and proof of utility builds
credibility and trust -- elements critical to driving
adoption of technologies where neither the users
nor the decision-makers are technologists. Delivering
this evidence takes time, but it is a cornerstone
requirement for the success of any serious health
Efficiency, the other key variable, allows funding to be
spread across a greater number of patients, or even
better, avoids the need for care by earlier intervention,
improved compliance and, ultimately, prevention.
Demonstrating efficiency, like efficacy, can also take
time, but it is a key ingredient in the business case for
Diabetes is one chronic illness where technology has
shown potential to benefit patients, and has captured
the interest of technology innovators and investors.
Digital technology is empowering people with diabetes
to make more effective decisions regarding dosage,
nutrition and diet by helping them to calculate, adjust,
estimate and track relevant indicators.
ASX-listed company MedAdvisor has been able to
show improvement to medication adherence via its
technology platform that alerts patients to take their
medication and see the doctor for new scripts, and it
connects to the pharmacy to enable scripts to be filled
With poor medication adherence widely recognised
as a common and preventable cost to health care,
the MedAdvisor medication system has leveraged the
high uptake of mobile devices to deliver value at a
very low per-patient cost.
Another very challenging illness is Parkinson's disease.
Difficult to diagnose and with no cure, Parkinson's
affects approximately 64,000 people in Australia.
A high proportion of patients suffer disabling,
uncontrolled symptoms that can lead to unplanned
and expensive hospitalisation. It's a difficult condition
to manage, but one where technology can play an
Until recently, Parkinson's disease symptoms could
not be objectively measured. Clinicians relied on
observation, clinical assessment and patient recall
during a short office consultation to assess the
frequency, severity and duration of symptoms.
Problems with this model of care are compounded by
the fluctuating nature of the disease, which makes it
difficult for patients to tell their clinician exactly when
and what symptoms they are experiencing.
The Parkinson's KinetiGraphTM system (PKGTM) is
providing a solution to this. Developed by Global
Kinetics Corporation (coincidently, founded 10 years
ago), the PKG system includes a patient-friendly, wrist-
worn device that records symptoms continuously over
seven days as people go about their daily lives. The
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