HopSkipConnect: Everyone, everyday, every way

By Brian Dolan
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iMetrikus"Healthy behavior. Everyone. Everyday. Everyway." That's the ambitious mantra that the Center for Connected Health's spinout, HopSkipConnect has adopted as its company's mandate, according to CEO Rick Lee during a presentation here at the Wireless Life-Sciences Alliance event in La Jolla, California.

While the startup is still in a stealth mode of sorts, Lee sketched out some of the company's plans as well as its vision for connected health.

HopSkipConnect is a device agnostic connected health company that uses personal health devices (glucometer, blood pressure cuffs, pedometers, etc.) from more than 50 partner companies to move biometric information into their analytics engine. HopSkipConnect runs the data through their "black box" and applies decision rules, clinical rules engines, pattern recognition and other tools to crunch the data and report it back to end users via text message, smartphone apps, Facebook, Twitter -- or whever the user wants it, according to Lee.

One of the pedometer-based offerings Lee presented was a virtual race to see which user could "walk faster" to Los Angeles or New York City. In other words, who could log the same amount of steps that it would take to reach those destinations in the shortest amount of time.

Lee said HopSkipConnect's first client was EMC, which tested the company's blood pressure management offering back in 2008 when HSC was a part of the Center for Connected Health named SmartBeat. The program tested 404 people -- 202 were in the control group and the other half had a blood pressure cuff and a modem, an iMetrikus device, Lee said. Three times a week the 202 participants uploaded BP data to the Web and checked in on-line once a week. Only three people out of the 202 dropped out of the program. Almost 70 percent of the group demonstrated an improvement, while 55 percent brought their blood pressure into a controlled range.

EMC calculated the ROI on the program as 3 to 1, so they decided to roll it out nationwide to its employees, which it is doing with HopSkipConnect today.

Overall, HSC has worked with 1,500 users for the blood pressure program as well as programs that tracked blood glucose levels through connected meters and activity via pedometers.

Lee made it clear that HopSkipConnect had no plans to get into "the hardware game" since it is not in the business of going through the FDA. The startup's primary customers are employers, Lee said, however they want to be in the consumer space. Afterall, Lee said, consumers value their own health more than insurance providers or employers do. HSC is currently raising about $5 million in venture capital funding.