Healthrageous nabs $6.5M for personalized data-driven health support

A growing movement of so-called Quantified Self enthusiasts eagerly track their activity and vital signs to improve their health, even in the absence of chronic medical conditions. But Healthrageous, a Boston-based startup incubated out of the Center for Connected Health (part of Partners HealthCare), takes a data-driven, personalized approach to help motivate those for whom healthcare may be more needed and costly.

Founded in 2010, the company, which counts employers, insurance companies and other enterprises among its clients, provides a device-agnostic digital health platform that uses data from a range of health-tracking devices to help patients monitor blood pressure, blood glucose levels and other information to improve their behavior through customized messaging. For example, a patient managing diabetes could use the platform to monitor his blood glucose levels and receive medication reminders and other messages that consider when he might be most receptive to “digital coaching,” the kinds of incentives he would be most responsive to and even his level of engagement with social networks.

On Monday, Healthrageous announced that it had raised $6.5 million in Series B financing from North Bridge Venture Partners, Egan-Managed Capital, Long River and another undisclosed investor. The latest round brings the company’s total amount raised to $15 million.

Rick Lee, the company’s founder and CEO, said the company just completed reconstructing the platform to make it more scalable and durable and is preparing to include more open APIs as they are made available, particularly those from consumer-facing platforms (like FitBit, for example). With the new funding, it also plans to enhance its analytics engines and machine-learning platform.

Individuals on the platform are referred to the site (or volunteer) after a health screening identifies them as an at-risk patient for diabetes, hypertension or other conditions.  Then they use Healthrageous to define their goals, create their plans and determine the rewards most appropriate for them.  As users collect their data through biometric devices (from blood pressure cuffs and glucose meters to weight scales and accelerometers), personal health records, lab tests and other sources, Healthrageous aggregates, analyzes and learns from it to provide customized messages and data visualizations to encourage progress. Patients receive a device and platform for either preventing or managing a condition, simultaneously saving their employer or health plan the costs of treating that condition down the line, the company said.

While more consumers may be hopping on the health-tracking bandwagon with gadgets like the FitBit and Nike Fuelband, Lee said there’s a big difference in motivation between the Quantified Self hobbyist willing to use all kinds of device to track his every bodily function and someone who has attempted and failed multiple approaches to managing a condition like diabetes. Further, while other platforms exist for helping diabetes patients and others monitor their health, Healthrageous’ pitch is that it can figure out the best method and medium for keeping people motivated.

“Using machine learning, we personalize messaging back to consumers so that they fully take control of their own life and start to be more active in their health,” said Lee.

Since launching, it has attracted 32 employer clients, as well as handful of health plans and pharmaceutical manufacturers, to include 10,500 people on its platform and earn $1.7 million in revenue.