Next time you do a grocery run, look for a jungle-gym-like health station with a green logo – chances are that you have spotted a higi health station. These free biometric screening outlets allow users to measure their vital stats (weight, BMI, pulse and blood pressure) and then electronically share it with healthcare providers. The startup has also engineered an intuitive app that allows users to track their biometric data in real-time and even connect with like-minded peers for exciting fitness challenges.
Although the health-tech is a densely populated sector, higi shows a lot of promise owing to its differentiated offering. This is why, only last month, this Chicago-based startup successfully raised $21.3 million, in Series C funding from 7wireVentures and Flare Capital Partners. With this influx of capital, higi hopes to drive up its number of access points, increase consumer engagement, and grow its headcount by 25 percent in the next 12 months.
It’s no secret that silent killers such as diabetes and heart attack are on the rise in the US. Additionally, with an expected shortage of more than 100,000 doctors by 2030, people need to start taking their health into their own hands.
In response to this need for self-health screening, higi was founded in 2012 by Khan Siddiqui and Michael W. Ferro Jr. Roughly translated to mean “origins”, in an ancient Central African language, higi strives to be the genesis of basic health information that enables users to live and feel better. Of recent count, an estimated 47 million people have used this biometric screening platform, conducting over 271 million tests.
The higi app, commercially launched in 2015, is now the fastest growing segment of the business. It easily links with the user’s health wearable, device or app; and tracks their vital stats in real time. Also, since Americans tend to visit grocery stores or pharmacies around 1.6 times per week, higi’s 11,000 FDA-cleared health tracking stations have been placed inside such shops. These health stations are now situated within five miles of 78 percent of the U.S. population, through a myriad of tie-ups with local retailers.
Once the health assessment is complete, user data (from the app and station) is securely collated to build a unique health profile for each individual. Updated in real time, the health profile, aims to keep users aware enough to fight your craving for that heart-attack on a plate monster-burger or the sweet-terror of a chocolate cake. higi has, therefore, become one of the first & most accessible means of detecting signs of hypertension, diabetes, and other treatable health conditions.
The consumer-centric, data-driven engagement service has also partnered with CRM and care management platforms, in order to bridge the existing healthcare gap. higi, in association with Rush, has created an app that allows users to share & integrate their health profiles with the electronic health records (EHR) maintained by healthcare providers.
The value proposition seems to work out very well for higi user, Susan Webb. Her blood pressure always shoots up at the doctor’s office, owing to hospital-led stress – giving a very wrong indication of her general condition. With the higi data, she is able to easily share BP results & other health parameters across various points in time, with her doctor.
Social Media of Health Living
The biometric screening app, also seeks to be the ‘Facebook of health’. This means that users of the higi app (‘higsters’) can follow others with similar interests, keep track of their health exploits, and encourage them to reach their health goals. They can also earn points (called watts) by participating in challenges for walking, biking or even by just checking in at the higi health station. Such a social wellness networking platform was built to inspire users to reach their health resolution, through gamification.
higi for Business
Apart from tying up with retail stores; the platform assists corporate health & wellness providers to conduct employee outreach, draw up their health profiles and measure the efficiency of existing care management programs. For governmental organizations, pharmaceuticals & life science organizations, higi generates leads and collects data for awareness programs and clinical trials respectively.
Interestingly, the biometric screening health stations are currently equipped with body composition grips, USB ports and cameras. While these features are not currently active, it’s in the brand pipeline and could be potentially chargeable features.
Today we are faced with super-long wait-times to get an appointment at the doctors’, coupled with the world’s highest out-of-insurance consult costs. Together with intuitive health platforms such as Heal, the startup ecosystem is a few steps closer to achieving the dream of accessible healthcare for all.
As Higi CEO, Jeff Bennett, put it – this really is an exciting time to grow with its customers and help healthcare systems improve consumer engagement, close gaps in care, and lower costs.