Rising use of Fitbit wristbands, Withings scales and other self-tracking devices mean individuals have access to a pool of personal health data that in some respects far exceeds what clinical trials gather. Now, Validic has secured funding from Dallas Mavericks-owner Mark Cuban to bring the devices into healthcare.
Cuban led a $760,000 seed round that gives North Carolina-based Validic the cash to integrate data from self-tracking devices to make it more useful to biopharma and other healthcare players. Hospitals and insurers are two groups that could obviously benefit from the integrated data, but Validic is also pitching at biopharma. Its technology pulls in results from more than 75 mHealth sources--including companies such as Fitbit, Nike and Withings--and outputs a single data stream.
With consent, a clinical trial could use this to monitor a participant's weight, heart rate, blood pressure and other factors between site visits. Each of these capabilities is available already, but Validic thinks there is a need to break down the walls between datasets from different devices. "Smartphones are pervasive, Fitbits are now for everyone. The problem is that there are all of these disparate vendors and nobody can access the data in any uniform way," Validic Chief Technology Officer Drew Schiller told ExitEvent.
Schiller perhaps presents an optimistic take on adoption--while the Pew Research Center found 69% of Americans track their health, just one in five use modern technology to do so--but nonetheless more and more people are generating data. And as the 83% of self-trackers who currently log results mentally or on paper switch to apps, the pool of data will grow rapidly. For physicians and trial sponsors used to having no oversight of patients between visits, this is potentially a big shift.
Recent updates by Apple ($AAPL) and Google ($GOOG) could hasten progress. The latest iPhone features a coprocessor that can tell whether a person is stationary, walking or driving, while Google has updated Android to cut the power consumed by sensors used by self-tracking apps.
Special Report: 20 Big Pharma and biotech mobile apps - 2013