Digital health incubator Rock Health hosted the 2012 Health Innovation Summit last week in San Francisco. In a series of posts, I’ll be profiling some of the interesting new health companies represented at the summit. You can browse all of the startups I liked from the Rock Health summit here.
The cost of having a child has spiked 40 percent over the last decade, with about 8 percent of the costs going toward healthcare, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
First-time entrepreneurs Jackson Wilkinson and Keith Muth have just beta-launched a website they think will help parents save money on trips to the doctor by creating a secure network for reliable, up-to-date and the best parenting advice.
WeSprout is described by its founders as a “tight, high-quality community” of parents looking for advice “without a lot of noise.”
Parents pay $50 a year to subscribe to the site and create personal health records for their children that include height and weight, medicines taken, developmental milestones and immunization charts. The information in those records directs parents to the best fellow community members to answer whatever questions they pose in the site’s question-and-answer section.
Wilkinson said that although all of the personal health information must be entered manually now, he hopes that eventually the site’s system could be integrated with doctors’ electronic medical records systems.
Implementing personal health records is what sets WeSprout apart from competing parenting advice sites like CafeMom and Babble, the founders say. That and its subscription model, which consists of an annual fee that will be adjusted so that the contributors who post the most substantial comments won’t be charged as much.
During the first week of the beta launch, WeSprout attracted more than 250 users and has revenue, according to the founders. Wilkinson said the community could reduce medical costs by providing parents with advice on when their children do and don’t need to see a doctor, and by facilitating the exchange of at-home remedies for common ailments.
Wilkinson and Muth went through Rock Health’s incubation program last year and will serve as mentors for the new class of startups.