New company aims to bring down blood pressure - and healthcare costs

By Bernie Monegain
11:08 AM

After a successful pilot with the Massachusetts-based EMC Corp., the Center for Connected Health, part of Partners Healthcare system in Boston, is launching a new company to allow self-insured employers to help employees manage their own health.

Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, founder and director of the Center for Connected Health, said people who are engaged in their own care become healthier and help reduce the cost of healthcare.

"The paradigm is part of what we've been studying at the center," he said, "to give patients the tools to be their own doctor."

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In this case, the tool is a wireless blood pressure cuff that allows employees with high blood pressure to monitor it at home and upload the readings to their doctor via a health portal. That portal will also allow them to receive coaching messages, such as "get more exercise" or "good job."

The EMC pilot was so successful that EMC will become the new organization's (it's called Connected Health for now) first customer,  Kvedar said.
The Partners HealthCare system will also become a client, Kvedar said, and several other New England employers are likely prospects.

"We have good brand recognition in New England," he said.

The Center for Connected Health is an innovation engine for transformational healthcare, Kvedar said. While the executives are happy to have Partners as a client, they want to draw clients beyond Partners.

While the new company will focus on blood-pressure management as the initial offering, he said, diabetes and acitivity/weight management products will soon follow.

Meanwhile, Kvedar and Connected Health co-founder Doug McClure are looking for venture capital, investments and a CEO.

Among the experience required, the CEO must have been a president or CEO for a minimunm of five years and have been responsible for one or two startups.

As for investments, Kvedar acknowledged that investors are being careful in these tough economic times, but Connected Health as a compelling ROI model, he said.

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