When the Reify Health team decided to put graduate school on hold to try a healthcare startup, they probably expected to spend less time in medical libraries rather than more. That turned out not to be the case.
The Reify team – the company was formerly called ZeroSum Health – is hard at work on a mobile health startup, tucked away in a corner of the Harvard Medical School library, home to Rock Health, a health startup accelerator. Ralph Passarella, Michael Lin, Henry Li, and Joseph Abrahamson are all currently on leave from Johns Hopkins MD and PhD programs and are working on solving the gap between medical expertise and mobile technology.
“Unique to our generation is the ubiquity of mobile technology,” said Passarella when I visited Rock Health last week. Despite the prevalence of mobile devices, there is a lag in the use of those devices for patient interventions, which is where Reify comes in.
The team is working on a web app that empowers researchers to create interventions using text messages and email. Take, for instance, the HPV vaccine, which requires three shots, with foll0w-ups two and six months after the initial one. Simple reminders via text might measurably increase the number of patients who foll0w through, and at the very least can collect data as to why those who don’t do so choose not to.
The company is bootstrapped with a few customers already on board, and the founders aren’t yet looking to raise money. Among the challenges they face is the tension between offering researchers’ customization and gathering results in a way that adds value to future interventions.
The team told me that Johns Hopkins was incredibly supportive of their decision, recognizing that they were working on a solution to a very real problem in the health space.
Through their participation with Rock Health the team gets not only space but $20,000 (no equity taken) and access to a network of mentors, and will take part in Rock Health Boston’s demo day on August 24.
In the meantime, even as they take time away from the books, you can find them in the library.
Image via Rock Health. Pictured L to R: Henry Li of Reify Health, Teri Condon of IMS Health, Michael Lin, Joseph Abrahamson, and Ralph Passarella of Reify Health