Healthcare industry being so bureaucratic might seem untouchable, even immune to disruption by innovators. However, the new kids on the block, tech entrepreneurs are changing the game.

Their products range from apps to robots that are not only changing healthcare, but they’re making a difference by allowing people to have more control over their personal health.

Fitocracy

Photo credit: Martin Barak

If you peek into the English dictionary under the letter c the chances for coming across a noun couch potato is big. A couch potato is a person who spends a lot of time in front of the screen and doesn’t have an active life. The founders of Fitocracy used to be out of shape gamers until they applied some of their video game acumen to exercise. Fitocracy is their attempt to help others follow a similar path.

How will fitocracy improve your health?

You can get your own personal trainer that provides everything you need to get in great shape. The coach will first take you through assessment to create your personal plan for success and then create a fitting nutrition plan. You will also get a personal workout plan and the Fitocracy app will take you through each workout, set by set.

The network taps into the same compulsion-inducing format that makes video games so addictive: when Fitocracy users log workouts on the site, they earn points that help them progress through levels. There’s a multi-player aspect, too: Fitocracy’s more than 1 million users can challenge each other to achieve fitness feats, such as running a certain mile time or completing a heavy lift.

Surgical Theater

Photo credit: Samuel Zeller

Founded by two former air force officer and a neurosurgeon, Surgical Theater is basically a 360-degree engaging experience for patients and their doctors. By bringing flight simulation technology in the operating room, surgeons can control virtual surgical tools to practice operation before they perform it. “ST’s Surgical Rehearsal Platform (SRP) uses MRI images and CT scans to render 3D virtual models of patients’ brains.” Besides that, patients can walk inside their own anatomy, gaining unparalleled knowledge.That same SRP technology has been applied to the company’s second product – an operating room navigation system that allows surgeons to look behind arteries using virtual 3D all while they’re in the middle of the surgery.

ReWalk

ReWalk is a battery powered set of legs which enables people with spinal cord injuries to walk again. This system was developed by Amit Goffer, after he was told he’ll have to spend his life in a wheelchair due to a life changing accident. A decade after, ReWalk exoskeleton is now available to consumers for $69,500.

“Users strap it on and then use crutches to balance as they walk. One of the primary goals is to allow people who have been bound to wheelchairs to meet the world “eye-to-eye” again. But the system provides real mobility, as well as positive metabolic effects and increased functionality, too.”

Surely the biggest success story is the one of a 32-year-old woman who was paralyzed from the chest down but has used ReWalk to complete the London Marathon in 17 days.

HelpAround; Health on the go

HelpAround is a mobile app made for diabetes users, serving as a community for advice and support. People living with diabetes have to carry their toolkits with medical equipment wherever they go. But what happens if they run out of glucose tabs or forget some of their equipment at home? With a mobile app like HelpAround is, users can easily connect with people in the area who might be able to provide them with the missing supplies or help any other way.

“Our healthcare system is all about hospital- to-patient, doctor-to-patient, nurse-to-patient. Why is nobody talking about patient-to-patient? […] HelpAround is poised to be one of the first to bring the “sharing economy” to health care.”

Telesofia

Medical instructions can be hard to understand, even the simple ones. Only half of the patients can properly understand the instructions given by their doctors. That alarming fact led a team of doctors and tech experts to found Telesofia, an Israeli startup that enables doctors to provide their patients with personalized video instructions.

“The videos, which can be pushed to any device, use illustrations and everyday language to make sure that doctors’ orders turn into action at home. They also filter out irrelevant information, so that a 65-year-old man doesn’t get sidetracked by medication warnings intended for breastfeeding mothers.”

Telesofia has managed to collect $ 1,5 million in funds back in 2014 and later it was selected as the winner of the 2016 Patient Engagement Platform Best New Product Innovation Award.

Take Away

The complexity of the medical ecosystem has slowed down the innovation processes in healthcare for a long time. However, the healthcare industry is now transforming rapidly due to the innovative business models and the possibilities new technologies are providing. Personal health has never been easier to track than it is now, with help of various gadgets and tech inventions. Some of the above-mentioned innovations have been a product of personal dissatisfaction with health industry’s solutions and others are simply there because great things happen when techies meet innovative healthcare employees.

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