Mobile health startup 1EQ recently launched its BabySteps app to help pregnant women take care of themselves in between visits with the remote but direct supervision of their obstetricians.
Pregnancy apps are used by 47 percent of smartphone users who are using health apps according to the 2013 Citrix Mobile Analytics Report. Most of these apps provide checklists and tips for women on how to handle the nine hectic months of pregnancy.
Washington, D.C.-based startup 1EQ wants to differentiate its flagship product from the hundreds of similarly-named pregnancy apps by focusing on the relationship between the patient and the care provider.
Launched last week, BabySteps can schedule appointments, recommend diets and give a checklist of useful steps for a healthy pregnancy. The care provider adjust instructions and information based on input provided by the patient through the app.
But more than a to-do-list, the app can pull health data such as weight and blood pressure, and measures the information it gathers against normal values.
"You can potentially detect a high-risk pregnancy," Anish Sebastian, 1EQ co-founder told Biz Journals. "The only time a provider interacts with our technology is if there is some sort of deviation from the norm."
The free app sends out an alert to the care provider if it detects something like abnormally high blood pressure or too much weight gain. It gives doctors the means to track patients in between visits and intervene when necessary.
As soon as a patient leaves the physician’s office, she may not be able to remember everything that was discussed. The app allows her to stick to goals long after the visit.
“When you start to look at discharge procedures for readmission, you know what happens, patients need to do very specific things when they leave a doctor’s office or surgery,” Sebastian said in a prior interview with MobiHealthNews. “This world of connection outside the clinic is crucial and we are just trying to make it super simple and actionable.”
BabySteps is based on the company’s proprietary One Equation software that combines genetics and lifestyle information to guide patients in making everyday health care decisions. The company said their platform has been made to integrate with known electronic health records providers Workflow and Allscripts.
The app is currently used by a small group of patients in a pilot program that 1EQ runs with GW Medical Faculty Associates. The company plans to expand to a larger pilot from which they can draw results to be published in a medical journal.
The company has so far raised $1.1 million from investors Kensington Partners and Ense Group to fund trials. It plans to raise some $3-4 million more in the third quarter to help market their product and generate revenue within this year.
Partnering with medical group practices may help 1EQ make BabySteps stand out from other pregnancy apps that came before it.
WebMD, long-established as an online health resource, last year launched its WebMD Pregnancy app. The iPhone app has a symptom checker, pregnancy info, a contraction timer and a multimedia library about pregnancy and fetal development. Hundreds of other pregnancy apps have similar features.
In comparison to most pregnancy apps which are not directly approved by medical professionals, 1EQ’s BabySteps is prescribed upon confirmation of pregnancy. This is part of the growing “mobile prescription therapy” type of health apps.