Ideomed – Using Mobile Technology to Manage Chronic Conditions
Ideomed, a new, rapidly growing Grand Rapids company, is a study into the mind of a serial entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is Keith Brophy, a seasoned technology industry leader who has been involved in a number of successful ventures in various sectors and also recognized as West Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year. The company he was tapped to lead is Ideomed. Ideomed was spun out of Spectrum Innovations, a business unit of Spectrum Health that focuses on product innovation for the health care industry. In its early stage, the idea was to develop a ‘smart’ inhaler device to provide for more effective asthma management. Knowing that Brophy would bring an innovation mindset, new approaches and the best use of technology, he was brought on as CEO in January 2011 to take the venture forward. His mission was to touch lives, build a viable business and to innovate.
“I quickly saw the infinite possibilities that web and mobile technologies could bring to chronic condition management,” says Brophy. “Over the next few months and with the help of an advisory group with broad expertise, we created a business model that uses mobile technology to reduce the number of hospital visits while improving quality of care.” Ideomed’s initial product, Abriiz, an asthma management system focusing on pediatric asthma, is a web-based tool designed to help children stick with their asthma medications.
The Abriiz platform includes a website for parents to monitor their child’s medication compliance; it tracks asthma symptoms and indicators and includes an app that prompts children to take medication and relays that information to the parental site. “I think of it as a personalized managed health solution,” explains Brophy. “We have developed a mobile app that reminds patients to take medication and offers incentive-based elements for them to do so.” The mobile app captures information and sends it to the second part of the technology – the software which stores all of the records transmitted from the mobile app. Its primary use is by the patient’s parents but parents may allow access by others, including doctors and insurance professionals who need the data to monitor a patient’s use of specific medications. Regular reports show trends and provide insight into how a patient is controlling his or her asthma.
While the Ideomed platform is not subject to U.S. Food & Drug Administration
approval, the company has completed one clinical trial in Georgia and is scheduled to complete a second asthma trial in Michigan this year. “Because our mobile device does not dispense medical advice, it’s not subject to current FDA registration requirements,” explains Brophy. “We are engaging in clinical trials in order to validate our product and, in fact, the results to date have been most promising, showing a significant reduction in emergency room visits and an increase in children taking their medications as prescribed.”
Ideomed currently employs 25 and expects to grow to 40 by the end of the year. While the team views its core competency as shepherding human health solutions, it has strong technology expertise. “Nearly half of our employees are technologists and we also make heavy use of outside software vendors,” acknowledges Brophy. “We have built the Abriiz product with great thought into mobile engagement and are now able to adapt our platform to add content for other chronic medical conditions without developing something completely new.” The company has recently entered Abriiz Heart into a clinical trial for chronic heart conditions and plans to introduce an Abriiz product for managing diabetes later this year. “We have the ability to expand our portfolio to address the high cost of 12 chronic conditions within the next two years,” says Brophy. Ideomed’s customer sales strategy targets its sales and licensing agreements to health plans and health insurance companies. “Insurance companies and their case managers want a consistent portfolio and our tool is the same for every condition,” adds Brophy.
Brophy credits the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) business counselors with helping to transform the company to what it is today. “Having learned what a tremendous value their knowledge and expertise brought to my previous business endeavors, I engaged them very shortly after I came on board. The SBTDC team was instrumental in our evolution from the one-condition medical device targeted to the consumer market, to a multi-condition web-mobile solution targeted directly toward insurance companies. With their involvement, we did a 180 degree change in direction as we identified and then refined our business model to achieve the momentum we have today.” says Brophy. Throughout the course of the start up, Ideomed engaged the SBTDC team in a wide range of business development activities. “For instance, their technology road mapping process was valuable in spotlighting areas that needed further exploration and thinking as we moved in a new direction and it was their coaching and guidance that was key to our receiving the Accelerate Michigan top IT Innovation award,” acknowledges Brophy.
Ideomed is now in fundraising mode, looking to raise revenue in early spring that will be used to expand the Abriiz platform to help manage other chronic conditions. This is a company that is poised to make a real impact in the development of disease management solutions.
For more information visit: www.ideomed.com.