Catalia Health raises $4M to improve adherence through robot-human interaction

Frank
November 25, 2018
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Catalia Health has closed $4 million seed round, following two previous funding rounds amounting to more than $7.7 million. The funding comes as the company prepares to apply its interactive robot to function as a healthcare companion,  helping patients comply with care plans for congestive heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and late-stage kidney failure.

Ion Pacific led the funding round, which also included participation from Khosla Ventures, NewGen Ventures, Abstract Ventures and Tony Ling, according to a company news release.

A robot seems like a rather costly proposition to ensure someone’s taking their meds when they’re supposed to, even with the sky-high cost burden of nonadherence. Mabu, as it is referred to, is intended to do more than ensure people take their medication. It also does daily check-ins engaging patients in conversations to help them manage care routines and make them feel less socially isolated. It is also intended to provide greater insight to physicians on their patient’s health.

The idea is that patients will obtain these robots through a specialized pharma company which produce a drug for their chronic condition. In that way, Mabu would seem to function as a kind of extension of a pharma company’s medication a little like Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s Abilify works with Proteus Digital Health. Digestible sensors from Proteus embedded in Abilify pills transmit data to a wearable patch. The FDA approved Abilify MyCyte earlier this week. 

Dr. Ezekiel Emanel, chair of the department of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania and venture partner with Oak HC/FT, voiced his skepticism about applying high tech solutions to healthcare challenges like compliance in an editorial published in The Wall Street Journal recently.

The toughest nut to crack from a big picture perspective is behavior change and nobody has any bulletproof solutions for that yet. If Mabu can use conversation to help on that front, it would be a step closer to the greater goal.

From drug developers all the way to providers, it’s key to find secure ways to access and use data to improve human health, all while protecting individuals’ privacy.

VBC has disrupted healthcare. Here are 5 other seismic shifts to prepare for.

Frank’s source: https://medcitynews.com/2017/11/robot-human-interaction/

 

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