By Sonali Nigam (Graduate Student, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health)
Health Innovation Week was September 17-27, 2011 in San Francisco. Whether you are a health technologist or a tech geek you would have loved the great conversations about “user generated health” at the Health 2.0 Conference, a well-known forum for knowledge sharing about web and mobile solutions in healthcare. For the aspiring entrepreneurs at Women 2.0, it may be heartening to note that many of the product demos and booths at Health 2.0 were hosted by companies with female founders.

Here are four female founded digital health companies that stood out:

  1. Clarimed — Co-founded by Nura Iluri who has a PhD in bioengineering. Her startup is aiming to provide information about the quality and performance of medical products to help patients, providers, payors, manufacturers and others make informed decisions. Clarimed launched at Health 2.0 this year.
  2. CopeToday — Founded by Tania Malik, a lawyer by training who discovered that there was a vital need to provide online mental health services to soldiers struggling with emotional issues after returning from Iraq. Her company provides a LiveChat option to allow
    soldiers to get help immediately.
  3. AxialExchange — Founded by Joanne Rohde, who was previously at Red Hat and UBS. AxialExchange provides a cost saving framework for data sharing between the key stakeholders in the healthcare industry: physicians, healthcare plans, hospitals and research organizations. AxialExchange launched at Health 2.0 last year.
  4. Eliza — Co-founded by Alexandra Drane, a serial healthcare entrepreneur. No longer a startup (it was founded in 1999!) Eliza uses a variety of multimedia strategies (including emails and text messaging) to provide patients with timely and personally relevant information to drive healthier behaviors.

With attendees ranging from developers, health professionals, doctors, payors, patients, lawyers and insurers it was not surprising that the issues that stole the show this year were how to increase patient engagement, demonstrate meaningful use and most importantly tame the behemoth of healthcare data. I expect that many startups will emerge in the digital health space as a result of some of these conversations.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Sonali Nigam is a graduate student at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Prior to grad school, she was an engineer at Genentech in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is now trying to figure out how Health 2.0 technologies can make healthcare accessible in both urban and rural environments. Sonali also volunteers at Applications For Good and would love to talk to you about the great work they do.