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Deal Radar 2009: Life:WIRE

Posted on Tuesday, Jul 7th 2009

Life:WIRE offers a cost-effective solution for users to proactively manage their disease and health conditions by giving any regular cell phone the capability to be a health management tool. This web-driven solution is gaining traction in the market through case management trials and research studies. 
  The company was founded in 2005 by Howard Rosen. An MBA in international finance and marketing, Rosen spent 25 years developing, financing and producing over $100 million of content for feature film, television and commercials and worked in several innovative telecommunication areas such as media streaming, interactive multimedia and wireless technologies. An interactive DVD project on Type II Diabetes for the University of Toronto Medical School and GlaxoSmithKline led Rosen to his interest in developing Life:WIRE, by pairing interactive mobile technology with health management interaction and content. 

While researching the Type II Diabetic project, he became aware of many chronic disease associated issues that are preventable or could be better managed. Several solutions, he realized, were not human behavior-friendly, and he though that new solutions should be responsive, interactive and integrate into a user’s lifestyle as naturally as possible in order to provide lasting results. Rosen felt that many health management practices were outdated, expensive and inefficient and so decided to provide a simpler solution. 

The company and its technology are owned by Rosen, with a small investment from family and friends. Life:WIRE is now at the commercialization financing stage and expects to receive an angel/investor round of funding by fall 2009. Based in Toronto, Canada, Life:WIRE has an office in Annapolis, Maryland in the US.
In the US, over $1 trillion is spent on caring for the chronically ill. Case and disease management costs are estimated at $10-$20 billion annually, with expense growth rates of 5%-15%. According to the Task Force on Compliance, only 25% of prescriptions for chronic conditions are refilled after one year, contributing to additional economic costs of $500 billion for wellness noncompliance in cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

There is a recent trend of patients wanting to take more control of their own health management while employers want improved patient outcomes and reduced use of high-cost services. Studies show that patients are up to 90% more compliant in reporting using electronic diaries versus paper ones.

Over the past year, a few companies have announced studies utilizing similar elements to Life:WIRE. Companies involved in such services include the LG Gluco phone and My Food Phone. However, the company says that Life:WIRE remains unique because it is interactive, easily customizable and can be used for the management of a number of conditions simultaneously through its web-based administration interface. Life:WIRE can work on any mobile device old or new, for management of several diseases.

The service differentiates itself from others by offering a two-way interactive service, and feedback, via automated responses. It also  can notify any permitted individuals when patient data trends are above or below the prescribed parameters. The service seamlessly integrates with a caregiver’s electronic health records and provides an assigned administrator the interactive tool to send custom messages to an individual patient or their patient population base.

The company uses diabetics in North America as an example of the available market. Of a total number of approximately 21 million diabetics in North America, 3.1 million are a direct addressable market for Life:WIRE. This includes those who have been diagnosed, manage their condition and have a cell phone. Regular record-keeping of their glucose level could result in a 1-point drop in blood glucose level, which would then result in more than a 40% reduction in future cost or complications. With the annual cost to the healthcare system of an average diabetic patient being approximately $16,000, a 40% reduction in future costs and complication could result in savings to the individual and the healthcare system of up to $6,400 per patient per year for this instance. 

Forrester Research projects the value of the “Healthcare Unbound” market to be $34 billion by 2015. According to the Center for Disease Control, the US spent $2.26 trillion on health care in 2007, which comes to $7,439 per person, with 6.7% growth in spending estimated through 2017. Life:WIRE’s objective is to lead in this space and to impact cost reduction through mobile management of chronic disease.

Life:WIRE targets health management companies, case management companies, pharmaceutical companies and complementary services such as device makers. The company contracts with a case management organization to provide its platform of solutions. It works on a subscription-type model, where charges are activated on a per user, per month basis, based on the number of message interactions used per month.

At present, Life:WIRE sees opportunities in managing diabetes, cardiology, pain management, smoking cessation, weight management, and pharmaceutical adherence and compliance. Life:WIRE plans to grow to support a wide array of clients and expand through new opportunities in health management areas such as high cholesterol, hypertension, stroke, asthma and related segments. Recent clients include Comprehensive Behavioral Health Management and  TouchPointCare, among others. Life:WIRE recently closed five strategic deals over an eight-week period. Since the company has only been in ‘commercialization’ mode since the last ten months, it has yet to reach profitability.

The company plans to expand its existing case management client base, with plans to triple the number of paying clients by the end of 2010. Life:WIRE is open to an exit under the right circumstances, but is more focused on growing its business in the near future. 

Recommended Readings:
Forbes Column 1009: Health Care’s Big Opportunity
Deal Radar 2009: Awarepoint
Deal Radar 2009: InQuickER

This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2009

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[…] Deal Radar 2009: Life:WIRE | Sramana Mitra on Strategy By Mitra_Sramana Regular record-keeping of their glucose level could result in a 1-point drop in blood glucose level, which would then result in more than a 40% reduction in future cost or complications. With the annual cost to the healthcare system of … Sramana Mitra on Strategy – […]

Blood Sugar Level Chart Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 12:20 PM PT