Innovative digital health start-up puts medical records into patients' pockets

A doctor and a programmer have developed an app that puts medical records into patients' own hands. The Hamburg-based start-up GmbH has created the digital health app called the "Life-Time-System." It allows doctors to transmit diagnoses, medical images and documents to patients' smart phones.

Digital health app

Doctor Johannes Jacubeit and business informatics programmer Matthias Lau are pooling their ingenuity and experience to give people access to all their medical records at all times. According to a recent report by the medical technology industry association, BVMed, the way the duo works is common for how medtech innovation unfolds in Germany. Users – in this case doctors – and innovators cooperate to meet consumer needs.

One-time orthopedist, Jacubeit knew the informational requirements of doctors and their patients. Lau had the IT skills to develop the digital app. In 2014, they founded GmbH.

Initially, they received start-up capital from Business Angels and the city of Hamburg, which financed the launch of the app. After the system was first tested in a pilot study in 44 Hamburg doctors' offices, Life-Time was ready for market in May 2016. At this stage, Life-Time is being used by 270 practitioners in Hamburg and Germany. The developers say that in addition to doctors, patients of all ages are using the app.

At the outset, the company had eleven employees; by mid-2017, that number had grown to 30. The inventors say that building an interdisciplinary team was their top priority. At first, they looked for IT and development specialists. Now, they need marketing and communications experts.

The fledgling firm has also received money from Germany's High-Tech-Gründerfond and a number of private investors, including Germany's leading medical publisher, Thieme. One of the biggest challenges they have faced is data security. "We knew a product like ours would only work if it was genuinely secure," say the developers, "Life-Time meets the highest of security standards, the privacy recommendations of Germany's Chamber of Doctors, and it is ePrivacy certified."

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