At the end of the week, Beam Tech co-Founder and CEO Alex Frommeyer will be heading to the beautiful Stanford campus to attend Medicine X 2012. So, what is it exactly? From their website:
Med X Organizer Dr. Larry Chu
“Medicine X is a catalyst for new ideas about the future of medicine and health care. The Medicine X initiative is designed to explore the potential of social media and information technology to advance the practice of medicine, improve health, and empower patients to be active participants in their own care. The “X” is meant to evoke a move beyond numbers and trends—it represents the infinite possibilities for current and future information technologies to improve health. Under the direction of Dr. Larry Chu, Associate Professor of Anesthesia, Medicine X is a project of the Stanford AIM Lab.”
If reading is too painful, here is a great video explaining the whole ordeal.
So, what is Beam going to be doing there? Well, first the Beam Brush will be one of a dozen or so devices and products being demonstrated as part of the “Hands On Learning” session. Other products include the Vital Clip, Lumoback, BodyMedia armband, and iBGStar blood glucose meter.
Stanford's gorgeous campus
Then, I will be joining fellow digital health entrepreneurs Christine Robins (CEO of Bodymedia), Sridhar Iyengar (CTO of AgaMatrix), and David van Sickle (CEO of Asthmapolis) as part of a panel to discuss the current state of digital health tech and where opportunities exist for continued innovation.
This will be a great opportunity to show off the Beam Brush to the digital health world; wish us luck!
Louisville, KY September 12, 2012 – Beam Technologies, the Louisville-based digital health startup developing the first app-connected toothbrush, has closed a Series B funding round to go to market with the Beam Brush in 2012. The round was led by the Yearling Fund, a Louisville ‘based venture capital fund that invests almost exclusively in early stage companies in and around Kentucky. “We have watched Alex make significant progress for over a year now and believe Beam Technologies has reached a point where this is a terrific opportunity for Yearling Fund II to invest.”, says Dale Boden, a General Partner in the Yearling Funds.
“Beam Technologies is really excited about reaching this critical milestone for the company,” said Alex Frommeyer, CEO of Beam Tech. “We now have the ability to launch the innovative Beam Brush and align other resources around the company in areas of need. Our goal now is to maximize the value of our capital and the experience of our new investors.”
Other investors include prominent angel and early stage investors in the Louisville, KY, area. The total amount of the round was not disclosed by the company.
“We have a really diverse set of angels that will bring additional expertise into the company in the areas of health insurance, dentistry, branding, and consumer product marketing. This is truly a round full of ‘smart money’ for Beam Technologies.”
“The Yearling Fund has an incredible reputation in the area and has really pushed the ball downfield for angel and micro-VC financing at the early stage level,” Frommeyer also stated. “We are very proud to have the support and confidence of the Yearling Fund managers and investors with the company as we grow hit more milestones.”
Beam Tech has officially opened pre-orders for the Beam Brush on our website ! For a limited time, customers will enjoy an early bird special price of $34.99 per unit for online orders. The Beam Brush works on both the Android and IPhone platforms, and users can choose between blue and pink for their brush. Adult and child replacement heads are available and cost just $3.99. The Beam App is free and allows users to display brushing behavior for multiple people, change brush heads efficiently, and create brushing goals to make your oral care more exciting! The expected delivery date for all orders is November.
Visit http://www.shop.beamtoothbrush.com/ to get yours today.
Now is the best time to Brush Smart!
“Digital Health” is know by a few names, among them Mobile Health, mHealth, Personalized Medicine, Quantified Self, and more. The Wiki page defines mHealth as “a term used for the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices.” The Beam Team loves the burgeoning Digital Health movement; in fact, we were toying around with ideas on how to change health care before some of these terms existed. Even in the earliest days of imagining the Beam Brush, we had trouble finding comparable consumer products aimed at collecting health-relevant data to send back to healthcare professionals. There weren’t many. Then, Dr. Eric Topol released “The Creative Destruction of Medicine” , a few well designed products came out (Fitbit anyone?), and bloggers/media rushed to coin the new era of digital medicine. Suddenly, our Beam Brush idea was in lock-step with the market, but it prompted some people to begin asking the company about general themes in oral health and the importance of our solution.
So, why does the health of your pearly whites (and whole oral cavity) actually matter?
Research first starting popping up frequently about a decade ago to study the effects of oral hygiene and the health of the oral cavity on the rest of the body. Some of the findings have been stunning to the general public, as the assumption to that point had been that oral disease basically only affected the oral cavity. First its important to note that oral disease itself is extremely common. A recent report published in the Journal of Dental Research and cited by Dr. Bicuspid found that
50% of U.S. adults age 30 or older have periodontal (gum) disease. The American Academy of Periodontology has linked gum disease to heart disease and stroke as well as diabetes. Gum disease has also been linked strongly with susceptibility to
Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, researchers at Case Western have found that certain oral bacteria are linked to preterm birth preterm birth. And don’t forget that oral cancer is affecting 300,000 people per year, and 35,000 in the United States [futurity.org].
The most publicized correlation of body health with oral health has likely been heart disease and gum disease, which is ushering in a renewed focus in the dental community to emphasize good brushing and flossing habits for all ages. With consistent and diligent care, the average patient drastically reduces their likelihood of developing the more serious systemic conditions. Initiatives are underway inside a multitude of dental professional organizations to continue raise awareness and provide solutions to the public.
We know that oral health is important for keeping the mouth feeling fresh, clean, and healthy. However, knowing some of the downstream effects, and the cost of these effects, you might want to take a closer look at what you are doing to keep your oral health in great shape!
…and why you should share it with them. In our previous post, I cited a comment we hear regularly from adults in discussing the Beam Brush. Many feel that the Beam Brush, and the grander idea of tracking data related to oral care, is a great or even fabulous idea for their kids, but just not for them. I have found it really interesting and curious in the days where collecting and tracking data is looked at as an overwhelmingly positive tool for your business, your stock portfolio, your car’s interworkings, and your house’s energy use. People, for reasons both valid and not, are more reluctant to recognize the potential value of collecting data about their bodies to improve their health. Their oral health is definitely a part of this equation.
Now, you can’t find a more bullish person on health data on the cost savings and improved treatment quality long term in healthcare than me. So, let’s “drill in” on how some adults react to the Beam Brush for their oral health: “I don’t want my dentist to know if I am brushing my teeth or not.” First of all, let me say this: fair point. I get it. I get the privacy thing, I get the perspective of wanting to avoid a lecture or a peer trying to shake up your health & hygiene routine. However, there are a few reasons I have compiled below that support collecting, and sharing, brushing behavior with your dentist as a great idea for you (and your dentist):
1. Treatment Planning
First and foremost, the data created by use of the Beam Brush can be sent to your dentist or hygienist and then used to reinforce or affect treatment planning. One of the missing links in dentistry is lack of data flow from the home care environment, which is especially important because dentistry is so dependent on good personal oral care habits.
Some dentists argue that they can tell if you have been brushing in general or not, but its not about being able to tell. It’s about being able to have a more advanced discussion about compliance, about partnering between dentist and patient to drive behavior change, and having a data supported platform from which to speak. A dentist telling a patient they know the patient isn’t brushing as much as they should isnt as effective as popping open their stats to reveal dozens of missed/forgotten monthly brushing events on a colorful graph. Bottom line: think of the Beam Brush like you think of patient education videos in the dentist’s office: The dentist may know that the patient needs a root canal, but the patient may not know they need it until they are shown evidence.
2. Factoring Genetics
In general, oral disease can be a result of two things: a genetic disposition to it, or poor care. The genetic factors can be uncovered by a variety of tests, but at least having information on the at home care can help make the determination of the culprit. This can also help identify issues early on if your dentist is able to discover your susceptibility to a certain oral disease pattern.
3. Non-threatening Data
The idea of storing and sharing health related data is a very touchy subject for many people. Though we know that there are tons of great benefits of the digital age in healthcare, there are legitimate questions of security and ownership. One of the great parts about sharing your oral care data is that this data is considered to be benign and much less “revealing” or “threatening” compared to other data sets. This means Beam can be a great introductory or supplemental product.
4. Patient Empowerment
Health data, produced and controlled by you, is rapidly becoming the best way to manage your health for the long term. Digital health is all about taking charge of your health and using a prevention lens to review your health metrics. To positively impact your health, you must first understand it. Then, you can make lifestyle changes and be better armed to have more productive discussions with your healthcare professionals. You can even save money by limiting your exposure to disease. Perhaps tracking your oral health results in oral disease prevention so you can avoid, or at least delay, caps, extractions, root canals, and other expensive procedures.
5. Save the World
Not only will data injected into the technological spectrum have a resounding impact on your personal health, but sharing data will also help the world’s oral health. How? By collecting data from many different users (and types of users), trends inevitably emerge that can be placed in the research environment. Data for research is nothing new, but purely digital data being uploaded in real time, or something close to it, allows for much larger and more organized data sets. This shortens the discovery cycle tremendously and thus creates higher quality care.
6. Connect to your Dentist
The Beam Brush, and ultimately its data, is a passageway to a better relationship with your dentist. Maybe even the creation of a relationship. Communication with your health care providers is rarely a bad thing, and many dentists are just now discovering the power of social media and a digital presence for their practice, so they are interested in engaging. Asking your dentist to set up a rewards program to give you a discount on your next cleaning or enter you in a drawing is a fun and interesting incentive for you to brush with technology backing you up. You may be surprised at what your dentist is willing to give you for referrals online.