we present inspiring digital health startups success stories

5 Digital Health Success Stories & The Founders Behind Them

Climbing the ladder of success is a dynamic process marked by sudden falls, fear of heights, and echoing steps. Today’s winds of digital health bring an extra challenge: Competitiveness. Although it’s expected that the digital health market will reach more than 206 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, figures show that not many stories end successfully. Sometimes start-ups fail to reach the bottom of the ladder, or the first step of success.

However, only by falling can one climb the ladder of success. And when they do, they may change the history of digital health. So, let’s have a look at five inspirational digital health success stories and meet the founders behind them.

1. Philips: A Platform for Success

The digital health sector is a dynamic field and leading companies need to catch up with innovations. However, some giants draw the route to improvement themselves. The Royal Philips technology company, with headquarters in Amsterdam, has become an established role model in the field of digital health, boasting stories of success.

Founded in 1891 by Gerard and Frederik Philips, Philips has become one of the largest electronics companies, which has outlived wars, social changes, and financial crises. In 2014, Philips announced the HealthSuite Digital Platform for digital data and mobile applications. By helping patients and practitioners stay connected in the cloud, Philips has overcome a huge gap in the healthcare sector: Good patient-relationship management.

To be more precise, two in-house telehealth apps facilitate communication, monitoring, and treatment: eCareCoordinator and eCareCompanion. eCareCoordinator can help clinicians access data, such as blood pressure and weight indicators, while the eCareCompanion portal can help patients manage their own condition via questionnaires and chats. Philips, just like CVS Health, embraces innovations and traditions at the same time.

2. Babylon Health: A Tower to Success

It’s not only about traditions, though. The competitive market in the field of digital health gives start-up companies the unique chance to succeed and answer healthcare demands. For instance, a main concern today is that the number of healthcare workers needs to double in the next couple of decades. Therefore, telehealth apps and AI software are becoming more and more valued. Companies also encourage people to use AI in diagnosing patients. Interestingly enough, PwC’s survey shows that 54% of British people are not willing to use AI assistance when it comes to children or parents. In comparison, 91% of Nigerians, 85% of Turkish, 79% of South Africans, and 70% of Saudi Arabians are more open to this idea.

The UK start-up company Babylon Health tackles this problem by implementing AI in mobile apps in order to help patients find the right diagnosis and treatment without visiting a healthcare centre. Babylon Health also introduced a chatbot as an alternative to NHS 111 helpline.

Although Babylon Health is a new company, founded in 2013 by entrepreneur Ali Parsa, it quickly became a story of success. Babylon Health has managed to fight competition and win a significant place in the digital health market. Along with digital health pioneers like HealthTap, Babylon Health connects patients and professionals – with the sole purpose of ensuring better healthcare for people.

3. Mazor Robotics: Real Success

Just like a person, AI keeps learning all the time. The more information AI systems obtain, the cleverer they become. AI may help institutions systematize and collect relevant data. It also helps patients access telehealth services and get treatment, and most of all, it is used in real-life practices. Not only training but real-life operations!

In fact, AI delivers everything healthcare providers need. Note that the top application that represents the greatest near-term value is robot-assisted surgery, followed by virtual nursing assistants and administrative work-flow assistance. The usage of robotics in surgery leads to higher instrument precision and better outcomes, including 21% decrease in length of stay.

A leading company in this field is Mazor Robotics, an Israeli company with an international office in Munster, Germany. The company was founded in 2001 by Professor Moshe Shoham and Eli Zehavi, and managed to reach success in no time. By implementing AI in surgical operations, Mazor Robotics has changed the history of digital health, showing that AI and people can work together.

4. DeepMind: Happiness & Success

The digital health sector expands beyond our physical boundaries. AI and technology benefit people’s emotional well-being and cognitive functioning. For instance, apps such as Moodnotes help people cope with serious mental health conditions, such as depression. It’s not a secret that online counselling, even performed by chatbots, is becoming more and more popular.

Research doesn’t stop here. The British company DeepMind Technologies was founded in 2010 by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg, and Mustafa Suleyman, and in less than a decade, it became successfully implemented in the NHS system. DeepMind assesses brain injuries, rare diseases, and new drugs.

At the same time, experts continue to dig deeper and deeper, developing tools to explore neural networks and the curious black box problem. The success story of DeepMind proves that challenges of the mind cannot prevent people from success.

5. Walk-Man: Keep on Walking Towards Success

When it comes to digital health and science, it’s not a secret that AI programs and machine learning are widely used to help practitioners and clients. Software, apps, and coaching systems all work in support of businesses and customers. The variety of sophisticated tech advancements is impressive. Nevertheless, the ultimate challenge for scientists is to create humanoid robots that can become an integrated part of our society.

Although our society is technologically advanced, there’s one thing humans have no control of: Nature. Therefore, it’s not surprising that experts are trying to develop humanoid robots that can replace humans in rescue operations following natural disasters. The European digital health market is competing with American and Japanese giants in the field of robotics. For instance, Walk-Man is an ambitious project initiated in 2013 by the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa.

The Walk-Man project aims to develop a humanoid robot with new skills, such as robust locomotion, the ability to operate hand tools, and the cognitive capacity to act autonomously. Walk-Man will be able to lift collapsed objects, use drills, maintain balance in crowded or jagged surfaces, and continue operating even in the presence of communication limitations. Due to the relevance of the problem and all environmental challenges our planet faces, this working project is a pure example of digital health success. Let’s see if Walk-Man will keep on walking!

Conclusion

To sum up, the digital health sector in Europe differs from country to country. However, as a whole, it influences the world market. Although there’s a lot of competition, companies can succeed, not only by implementing new improvements, but by meeting clients’ needs.

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Theresa Kern

Business Development at beta|careers
Theresa is a management student and team member of the 2017 class at beta|careers.

Her responsibilities include growing and nurturing our digital health platforms and, occasionally, taking care of bus tickets for the team. In her free time, she can be found on horseback out in the woods.
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