Michigan's integrated health system Spectrum Health announced at the end of the year that it would shut down Ideomed, a mobile health app developer that spun out of the provider in 2010. According to a report in local business journal MiBiz, Spectrum pulled the plug after "tepid sales" and a lack of interest from outside investors.
Ideomed will fully wind up by the end of the month and its 26 employees have been encouraged to apply for positions at Spectrum.
“We have a significant number of projects in the digital space,” Spectrum Health's CIO Patrick O’Hare, who is also chairman of Ideomed's board, told MiBiz in an interview. “We still very much believe in the technology (Ideomed developed) and are going to leverage it for our members and patients.”
Ideomed started out with an eye on connected devices. It initially developed a prototype of a connected asthma inhaler before changing course in the face of the expense of the FDA clearance process. It developed a chronic condition management app called Abriiz (to make managing health "a breeze"). The app leaned heavily on gamification tactics for engagement and was mostly targeting pediatric populations.
Spectrum-owned health plan Priority Health offered the app to its members who had kids with asthma, and according to Spectrum's website, as of 2013 the app had racked up "100,000 doses delivered", its metric for how many times Abriiz users reported taking a medication as instructed. The company had plans to expand the app into diabetes management, congestive heart failure, and palliative care.
While Ideomed's other customers have been largely undisclosed, during testimony at a Congressional hearing about mobile health regulations in mid-2013, Ideomed Keith Brophy said that his company had "expanded our customer ranks across the midwest and nation."
Brophy also said at the time that the company had "come full circle" on its device strategy and begun integrating third party devices, including glucose meters, weight scales, wearable devices, and more.
Ultimately the growing number of companies working in digital health drove Ideomed out of business.
“We evolved it to the point where it just made sense to roll it into Spectrum Health," Brophy told MiBiz. "You could look at it in a way where the product kind of grew up and now is ready to go onto its next era... [The mobile health market] became increasingly crowded over the last year. It was significantly crowded with many competitors in the space nationwide.”