Roundup: Four Local Health Startups

These innovative, health-related startups were all conceived in Massachusetts.


This EyeNetra device snaps onto your phone to give you a quick eye exam. Photo via EyeNetra Facebook.

Boston is the place to be for healthcare and startup innovations. Already a health food startup hub, competitions like MassChallenge (an annual startup competition) help bring more startup businesses to the city and many of them are focused on keeping Bostonians healthier and better connected to the medical care in the area. Here’s some of the new innovators:

EyeNetra— Cambridge

Don’t want to go to the eye doctor? No worries. With EyeNetra’s new device, you can just use your cell phone to test your eyes. According to their website:

“2.4 billion people worldwide don’t have glasses who need them due to a lack of felt need for eye care. While eyeglass manufacturers/retailers can produce $0.75 eyeglasses, they have minimal cost effective, quality, or remote eye diagnostics to build demand or efficiently service those in need. Current eye testing tools are expensive, bulky, require significant training, and don’t allow for data digitization nor remote linkages to products/services.”

Because of this, EyeNetra’s founders created a device that you can attach to your phone for an eye examination as well as an app. David Schafran, the CEO of EyeNetra, comes from a family of optometrists. So after spending time as a researcher at MIT Media Lab, starting EyeNetra was a no-brainer.

Bank of Fitness— North Dorchester

The folks at Bank of Fitness understand that it’s hard to keep yourself motivated to exercise, which is why they created the Bank of Fitness.

“I wondered, why not start a rewards program that encourages people to exercise and reach their health goals as opposed to spending money on plane tickets and credit cards,” says Corey Draffen, Bank of Fitness’s founder and a Boston native. “We currently have a network of 15 million users from around the world.”

Through the free site, you’ll get savings at stores around Boston and online as a reward for your workouts. You can track your exercise history, compare your workouts with other Bank of Fitness users, and each workout will help you gain points, which will lead to discounts on things like new running shoes or the latest iPhone accessory. The more you workout, the more points you earn, and the more free stuff you get. We like the sound of that!

CoPatient— Waltham

CoPatient was created to help you find errors in your medical bills and appeal insurance denials. Many of us pay our bills without a second glance because of the headaches associated with contesting the claims, but CoPatient will analyze your bills and work on the appeals for you. The investigation of your medical bills is free, and their prices for negotiation are pretty reasonable, too.

QMedic— Cambridge

Sombit Mishra, the CEO of QMedic, explains that the QMedic device was developed by MIT students who wanted to create a better version of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” monitoring devices. As specialists in movement technology, the students created a company called EveryFit, which was fitness based, and soon transitioned to the current model of their company. The QMedic device monitors movement and alerts caregivers to risks in a timely way if there’s a problem. From older individuals, to young children, to chronically ill patients, this device could change the way that caregivers and doctors are able to monitor their patients and loved ones.

Among other things, the device delivers information like the number of times that an individual wakes up during a night of sleep, the exact times that they woke up, as well as extreme behavior changes like falls. The bonus is that the device doesn’t need to be charged, and it can be used to gather almost any kind of data.