4 mHealth startups with potential

The New York Times continues its foray into emerging mHealth technologies, this time with a review of several emerging mobile startups that it says are "pushing the transformation" of the U.S. healthcare system.

Some we've covered in FierceMobileHealthcare before, but at least two were new, even to us. And all contained some intriguing financial tidbits, indicating how the new companies will actually make money on their new creations.

Here's a summary:

Avado. This app gives physicians tools to create website with online intake forms and scheduling functions. It also allows doctors to provide weekly meds reminders to patients, and to track remote patient monitoring data. One interesting note: Doctors share control with patients, deciding in tandem which vitals to monitor, and how frequently.

The company, which started out with $500K put up by its founders, started out with a free version of the website, with its administrative tools, but now offers subscriptions of $100 per month per clinician for the higher-level clinical functionality, NYT reports.

ClickCare. Think of it as an app for quick consults. The software provides a secure website where physician or nurse users can post photos or information about a thorny patient problem, and receive an official consult from a specialist.

The company started out with federal grant funding, but transitioned to a $99 a month per user charge for the service. Company officials tell NYT their sales have doubled for the last two years.

Airstrip Technologies. Airstrip OB is the big app for this 2008 startup, allowing physicians to track and view fetal monitoring results and the mother's contractions via smartphone or tablet. It's one of a handful of mHealth devices that has obtained FDA clearance.

The financial underpinnings are intriguing, according to NYT: Hospitals pay an annual fee for the system, although it's different depending upon which devices and the volume of data transmission. The company earned its first big customer last fall -- a $4.3 million contract with Catholic Healthcare West, plus a cash infusion - undisclosed - from Qualcomm Life Fund in February.

TelCare. The wireless-enabled glucose meter and app is another FDA-approved device, and one we've reported on extensively at FierceMobileHealthcare. Most recently it has added social networking functions to expand the universe of those to whom the data can be sent.

NYT provides some interesting financial details. Telcare earns money from selling the meters--cellular connectivity, server service and smartphone apps included-- for $150 and test strips for $72 per 50 strips. Telcare started out with $7 million, and just began shipping its products in February.

To learn more:
- read the NYT article
- get a glimpse of Avado's start last year
- check out an interesting review of ClickCare excerpted from MedicalOfficeToday.com