At CES last month we had the opportunity to see the latest and greatest in digital health innovation. One of the earliest and most active companies in this space is iHeath Lab, a subsidiary of the Chinese company Andon Health. We had the opportunity to speak with their president, Adam Lin, about the company and their vision moving forward.
Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: Can you describe the origin and vision of iHealth?
Adam Lin: iHealth Lab was founded 3 years ago by our parent company Andon Health Co. Andon is one of the leading manufacturers of blood pressure monitors in the world and the founder wanted to create a set of branded products that could make a difference in the connected health space. The medical device measurement market was ripe for disruption and Andon seized the opportunity to advance the industry. Our purpose is to help individuals lead healthier lives. We do this by making devices and software that empowers people to take control and manage their health, especially in the areas of heart health and diabetes. Through mobile personal healthcare devices like blood pressure monitors and blood glucose monitors that are connected through the cloud, users can see a more comprehensive view of their vitals, which they can easily share with doctors or caregivers. We focus on product design that is simple, consumer friendly, affordable and connected.
Medgadget: I hear you’re working with UCSF to conduct clinical trials. What are you hoping is the end result?
Adam Lin: We’re actually working on a couple of studies with UCSF. The Health eHeart study (link: http://www.health-eheartstudy.org/) and the cFMD study. The study that I think you are referring to is the most recently announced cFMD study (link:http://www.ihealthlabs.com/ihealth_news_detail_Clinical-Study-Collaboration_484.htm) which is a collaboration with UCSF and UC Berkeley to study arterial endothelial function with new blood pressure cuff technology which may lead to new methodologies for predicting imminent heart attacks. The UCSF study is designed to primarily gain knowledge that will help in the understanding of predicting and preventing heart disease. Our involvement is motivated by our broader goal of trying to help individuals lead healthier lives, but it also helps us better understand how our devices are used in the marketplace by both individuals and healthcare professionals. You can expect iHealth to be launching more studies in 2014 targeted at diabetes and heart disease.
Medgadget: Who are the main users of your products? Patients, family caregivers, or clinicians?
Adam Lin: Our devices are designed to be used primarily by individuals to measure health vitals. Our designs follow three criteria – simple/easy to use, affordable, and connected. Interestingly, these design principles make our products and services very attractive to health care professionals and caregivers. Clinicians are able to quickly and affordably extend the reach of their studies because measurement can be done away from the office and data can be accurately recorded and transmitted through the cloud. Caregivers also prefer our devices to the traditional medical devices, because they are easy to use and data is easy to manage. As a result, the “professional” side of our business has been growing over the last 12 months.
Medgadget: How do you decide which products to pursue, especially given the many digital health companies that are popping up?
Adam Lin: We want to make a difference, which is especially important given our parent company’s (Andon Health Co.) background in making blood pressure devices. We want to change consumer behavior with a focus on mobile, using our underlying know how in the consumer space. For every product iHealth creates, the focus is on heart disease and diabetes. The wearable space is currently more focused on devices like activity trackers, but we want to move beyond that. With new devices that we announced at CES 2014, we’re continuing our charge toward providing serious, medical-grade continuous monitoring devices. All new iHealth devices, the Wireless Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor (BPW3), Wireless Pulse Oximeter (PO7) and Wireless Ambulatory Electrocardiogram (ECG), will provide 12 to 24 hrs of continuous monitoring.
Medgadget: Can you discuss the international presence of your products? For example is the Quantified Self movement also occurring in other countries that iHealth or its parent company serves?
Adam Lin: While the US is leading this movement, the other regions are not far behind. Europe is close behind in terms of adoption by consumers. iHealth currently sells products directly in several countries in Europe. Asia is behind Europe in terms of interest but catching up quickly. Asia’s development mirrors what we saw in the US in 2010. However, we expect the adoption to move quickly in Asia, which is why we have also set established distribution points in key Asian markets.
Medgadget: Are there plans to integrate your device data with electronic health records?
Adam Lin: Yes, integration with EHRs is part of our strategy. We are currently integrated with dr chrono, as an example, and are pursuing other partnerships, which are confidential.