Health IT

Why PHRQL should win the #DDDiabetes challenge (and did!)

On the opening day of Datapalooza IV, five entrepreneurs pitched their products and services designed to make it easier for people with diabetes to stay healthy. I like PHRQL’s plan the best. Putting nutritionists in supermarkets and giving them access to clinical data and EHRs solves two big problems.

UPDATE: Connect and Coach by PHRQL wins $100,000 from the challenge. It is cool that they retain all their IP. I am glad I was wrong in my prediction! Totally underestimated the crowd as well – they picked PHRQL too.

On the opening day of Datapalooza IV, five entrepreneurs pitched their products and services designed to make it easier for people with diabetes to stay healthy.

The companies all have interesting, promising ideas, but I like PHRQL’s plan the best. Putting nutritionists in supermarkets and giving them access to clinical data and EHRs solves two big problems.

The first one is convenience. Healthcare is complicated enough and nutrition counseling can feel like an unnecessary extra for someone trying to figure out new meds and make other habit changes, even though diet is so critical to managing blood glucose.

Second, PHRQL’s solution brings together all the separate parts of the healthcare equation that are fragmented and hard to connect. The nutritionists in supermarkets would not be working in a vacuum but giving advice informed by a patient’s medical record. This not only makes success more likely, but it also makes the consumer more efficient. Anyone who has tried to round up personal medical records know how hard it is to do. Any person who can do that for me would become my new best friend – even more so if we could discuss my health in a more neutral environment than the doctor’s office.

My only advice to PHRQL is to find a new name. It’s impossible to remember and not cute enough to be funny. Find a smart marketer to help you turn “Connect & Coach by Personal Health Recording for Quality of Life” into something catchier and more consumer friendly.

Startups and app makers have to be brutally honest about what people will do to track their health. If your customer set is limited to the record keepers or the quantified selfers or the incredibly engaged patients, you are bound for disappointment. The best solutions fit into people’s every day lives or established care routines (think about your weekly errands or the set schedule of prenatal visits).

Diabetes is so much about food and trips to the grocery are a part of (almost) everyone’s daily life. PHRQL should win the challenge because the team understands the logistics of healthcare from a patient perspective. Having a nutritionist at the grocery store fits that healthcare need into daily life. There is no extra trip to make. This makes the person more efficient, which is a big key to success.

The data geek in me loves AllazoHealth and the gadget side of my brain swoons over Go Cap. But, as the chief logistics officer of my house, I know PHRQL is the solution that will help the most people.

The winner will be announced this morning at the second day of Datapalooza. The audience voted yesterday and Nuduro was in the lead at the end of the day. My guess for the judges’ pick is a draw between Go Cap and AllazoHealth. We’ll know shortly.