It is often challenging for patients to comprehend their medical data in terms of real-life implications. Although patients can look at their blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, and other physiological data, they are not always knowledgeable enough to understand these results and make necessary lifestyle changes. To help the consumer better understand these medical results, Maayan Cohen created Hello Heart. This mobile health solution is an app that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to help patients comprehend and improve their heart health.
Hello Heart recently completed a $12M Series B led by Khosla Ventures, a top-tier firm who’s active in AI and health investments. With this funding, Hello Heart is plans to take its operations to the next level and improve upon their mobile health solution.
What Was the Inspiration Behind Hello Heart?
Hello Heart was conceptualized five years ago by Cohen, the company’s CEO. When someone close to her was diagnosed with a serious illness, she found herself tracking vitals, collecting records, and spending countless hours attempting to research what the data meant. This is when she realized that the patient is not empowered with tools to properly understand and improve their health from this information.
“As a patient, it can be hard to understand what is going on with your health when it’s communicated in medical terms,” said Cohen in an e-mail to DocWire News. “This can lead to inaction by the patient because they don’t truly understand their chronic conditions.”
Cohen decided to take matters into her own hands and create an accessible solution for the general public. Being that the average person spends five hours a day on their smartphone, she saw this device as a convenient and prevalent way to empower patients.
“We started Hello Heart with the mission to empower patients to understand and improve their heart health on a device they so-frequently use: their smartphone,” Cohen explains. “This allows for patients to access information about their health through understandable explanations, anytime and anywhere.”
What is the Hello Heart App?
The app itself is a digital platform that empowers users to not only understand their cardiovascular health, but to improve it as well. Being that heart health is the biggest cost factor for employers, this mobile health solution has the potential to improve consumer health and reduce excess spending. This program is backed by clinical evidence and targets those with high blood pressure.
Participants in the Hello Heart program receive a wireless blood pressure monitor that they use to enter blood pressure readings into the companion app. This app gives the user real-time personalized tips to promote their overall health.
“The solution is easy to use, and helps participants improve their heart health in a fun and engaging way,” Cohen says. “Hello Heart delivers real results – enrollment rates are 45% of targeted employees and 70% of participants at-risk reduced their blood pressure using Hello Heart.”
Hello Heart tailors its guidance and advice to each individual user via machine learning technology, a specific type of artificial intelligence. This AI utilizes blood pressure and blood sugar readings, physical activity, and other user-provided medical data to give digital coaching guidance based on the individual’s condition. The app provides medication adherence reminders to users as well to promote healthy lifestyle changes.
“Our medication adherence reminders are very important for users who use medication to control their blood pressure,” Cohen explains. “A user can have unusually high readings if they do not take their medication. This part of the program helps to remind them to stay on track of their medication.”
A Research Supported Mobile Health Solution
A retrospective study of 5,000 participants was conducted by researchers at Harvard and UCLA evaluating the efficacy of Hello Heart. Published in Health Information Science and Systems, this study found that the use of Hello Heart resulted in blood pressure normalization in 57% of those with hypertension, or high blood pressure, at four weeks. At 22 weeks this effect was seen in an additional 12% of the participants, bringing the total to 69%.
In addition, the researchers also observed what they call a “dosage effect,” in which outcomes improved as more people began using Hello Heart.
“After six months, the average drop [in blood pressure] was 22 points systolic,” Cohen notes. “This is outstanding for blood pressure reduction and is more than 2-3x the industry average among disease management programs.”
What the Future Holds for Hello Heart
Hello Heart is excited about receiving this recent funding from Khosla Ventures. Some notable investments from Khosla include Square, Stripe, Instacart, DoorDash, Ginger, AliveCore, and Impossible Foods. Previous investors BlueRun Ventures, Maven Ventures and Resolute Ventures also participated in the round. Cheryl Cheng from BlueRun ventures led the series A funding round in 2017.
“Hello Heart plans to use the funding to scale up our sales team in the employers and health plan space and hire more engineers,” Cohen says. “We are very excited to continue to grow our team and to be working with Khosla Ventures.”
— Hello Heart (@HelloHeartApp) July 31, 2019