McDonald wanted “healthcare track to be very compelling”

GigTank-tekno(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series of articles profiling some of the companies involved in the 2014 “GIGTANK” hosted by Chattanooga’s “CO.LAB.” All of the companies make their pitches on July 29 at “Demo Day.” To register, click.)

By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

“I wanted the companies we picked for the healthcare track to be very compelling,” said David McDonald of ProjectLift, one of CO.LAB’s partners in the 2014 edition of the “GIGTANK.”

The business executive, who divides his time between Chattanooga and Miami, was so committed to this year’s program that he brought one of his ideas – KORHealth – into the accelerator.

The goals of ProjectLift and CO.LAB are very complementary.

“ProjectLift is an access and business model accelerator,” McDonald said. “We can contextualize ideas, and we want to have teams that deliver.”

That’s where KORHealth and the “GIGTANK” intersect. Each start-up has its core founding team. In KORHealth’s case, Maria Currier represents the founders as Project Manager. “GIGTANK” provides Mentors as well as individuals referred to as Specialists who can work on specific activities such as marketing, business plan development, or technology.

“We are utilizing the ‘GIGTANK’ expertise,” Currier said.

KOR, the app that is being developed, is a HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based, mobile platform that engages healthcare providers, patients and families in pursuing better health outcomes. It can be used to help educate users about a clinical condition, remind them to take medication, keep them on track with nutrition and exercise plans, motivate them to reach goals, or help deal with anxiety and stress.

KOR is a multi-dimensional tool that serves the needs of the provider, the employer, the patient and the caregiver. As such, it is designed to facilitate better health outcomes in terms of cost, quality, satisfaction and readmission avoidance for hospitals and health systems.

McDonald describes KOR in two ways. One is as a “a virtual nurse, health coach, therapist and personal health assistant all rolled into one.” The other is as a “user engagement platform that learns, educates, and inspires patients to be more involved in their healthcare.”

Noting that it is “platform agnostic,” he adds, “KOR leverages a unique cognitive learning platform that uses a combination of predictive modeling and location-based evaluation which we call KOR Insight. KOR also incorporates behavior change theory and neuro linguistic programming functions that enable the platform to intervene with the right information, guidance and motivation at the reachable moment.”

Most important, McDonald says that KOR provides highly personalized, meaningful feedback for positive reinforcement – the key to sustainable behavior change.

“It (our software) gets smarter as you use it,” he adds.

Unlike many start-ups at this stage in an accelerator, KORHealth has raised significant financial support from founders. McDonald says the company is “already having very meaningful conversations with blue chip companies about the product.”

Potential customers include employers, Accountable Care Organizations, and anyone else interested in population health management and readmission avoidance. The enterprises with which KORHealth is talking range in size from 70,000 to 20 million covered lives.

“We believe we will have a functional platform by the end of the year,” McDonald says.

Both Currier and McDonald are pleased to be working with CO.LAB.

“Chattanooga has built a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem,” McDonald says, and Currier adds, “This is an accelerator with Southern hospitality.”

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