Venture capitalists seeking to
profit from innovations in health care are turning to startups
that make smartphone and tablet applications for doctors and
Two years ago, patients would be surprised to see their
doctors pulling out an Apple Inc. (AAPL) (AAPL) iPhone to check their blood
sugar, or cardiogram results. Now they’re finding such practices
commonplace as investment in the kinds of companies that make
health information apps rose 78 percent in 2011 to $766 million.
Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) (QCOM) has started a $100 million fund, Insight Venture
Partners is putting $40 million into a startup and Oprah Winfrey
is dipping in as well, with her company investing in a website
that helps doctors and patients interact.
“We’re at a sea change,” said David Jahns, managing
partner of Galen Partners LP, a Stamford, Connecticut-based
private equity firm that invested in a company called Sharecare.
Demand for apps that let doctors and nurses see test
results quickly and monitor vital signs remotely, combined with
a push from government and insurers to collect better data to
contain rising medical costs, is propelling investor interest in
an array of health information technology, Jahns said.
“We really have to improve our costs,” he said. “The
best thing that our country can do is invest in technology
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