If you have tried to lose weight at some stage in your life, you will know that it is difficult. The adage of eating less and exercising does not work for some people. In fact, the human body is actually meant to lose weight, said Catherine Sanders, a co-founder and senior medical officer. Smart health.
Sanders’ digital health startup provides software that helps people lose weight. This technology, called Evolve, was developed by doctors, and it combines the current medical understanding of obesity. Patients still need to change their diet and exercise. But Evolve provides them with a way to achieve this goal in a structured and personalized way.
San Francisco-based Intellihealth is one of 10 startups that recently participated in the Pitch Perfect competition during the MedCity News INVEST precision medicine conference. The judges named it the winner of the healthy IT track.
“When Dr. Sanders immediately addressed the problems her company was trying to solve, the needs of patients, and how the platform would expand, Intellihealth stood out,” Northpond Ventures director and one of the judges Andrea Jackson said in an email.
Although obesity is widespread, it has always been a little-known medical field. Sanders says this is partly because many people-including clinicians-have long viewed obesity as a lifestyle issue. This is the case with high blood pressure, and patients are told to control this condition by adopting a low sodium diet. Research has revealed the complexity of hypertension, and there are now more than 120 drugs that can solve this problem. Obesity research is also being carried out in a similar way.
“This is a relatively new field of medicine,” Sanders said. “Until recently, we didn’t really understand what happened to weight regulation.”
Using Evolve starts with evaluating the patient’s medical history. Ask the patient to fill out a questionnaire. The software is also integrated with personal electronic health records to collect more data. Sanders said that Evolve’s algorithm identifies factors that cause weight gain or weight loss disorders. The software then generates a personalized plan designed to help each patient lose weight. The guide includes articles, meal plans, and the ability to track measures such as food consumption and exercise levels.
Evolve’s recommendations can include medication. Psychotropic and hormonal drugs are drugs that promote weight gain; Sanders said that an estimated 15% of the obesity epidemic is due to the drugs people take. Evolve includes a drug decision support tool to help clinicians determine drug alternatives for patients. It also identified possible anti-obesity drugs. Clinicians can log in to the software to evaluate the patient’s progress. The software can also be used for remote patient monitoring.
Evolve is based on software developed by Louis Arrone, Professor of Metabolism Research at Weill Cornell School of Medicine. Arrone is an obesity medicine expert. He developed his plan to achieve a dual purpose: to help clinicians keep up with the latest developments in obesity, and to provide support for patient weight management. Arrone is the co-founder of Intellihealth, which started operations in 2019.
Sanders said that the reason for adopting software methods to solve obesity is to reach more people. There are very few obesity specialists, and many people seek weight help. The software allows more people to use the tools of the obesity care center.
“There are not enough obesity-trained medical providers to provide care,” Sanders said. “Technology is necessary to bridge this gap.”
There are other options for weight loss techniques.Headquartered in New York Noom sells apps to consumers Provide guidance, support groups and digital programs to help users lose weight. It also provides diabetes prevention programs. San Francisco-based Virta Health calls its software a way to help patients reverse type 2 diabetesThe company’s app also provides dietary recommendations to limit carbohydrate intake.
Sanders said that Intellihealth’s products are based on medical evidence and its methods are supported by clinical studies.Last November, the Journal of the American Medical Association Publish The result of a clinical trial that randomly assigned 840 volunteers to one of three groups: online plan only, routine care, and a combination of online plan and routine care. The main goal is to measure the weight change after 12 months.
The results showed that compared with the other two groups, the weight loss of patients in the combination treatment group was smaller, but it was statistically significant. The study evaluated the software developed by Arrone, the predecessor of Evolve. But Sanders said that Intellihealth’s software is based on Arrone’s software, and the results of the study validate the company’s approach.
Evolve was launched in May and is currently used by multiple health systems. The company also counts as a customer payer, a pharmaceutical company, and a self-insurance organization. Software as a service technology is underwritten by insurance. The software is currently available as an online product. The company’s next steps include launching a mobile application and fine-tuning Evolve’s algorithm.
Intellihealth is also developing special programs for the software, which will solve diabetes, bariatric surgery and women’s health problems. Sanders said these programs will be based on the Evolve platform, but provide different content for patients.
Screenshot of Intellihealth’s Evolve