Damoun Nassehi, co-founder of digiDoc Technologies, is our latest interviewee. He also happen to be a board certified family physician in the Norwegian Medical Association, and has a small practice in the south-western part of Norway. Nassehi says that one of the reasons behind digiDoc’s creation was his interest in digital technologies and basic sciences. Here’s what he had to say…
How would you pitch your company? What’s your elevator pitch?
digiDoc Technologies is a mobile first, digital health company. Today, the majority of people, including most patients, carry powerful computers — smartphones — in their pockets at all times. digiDoc develops algorithms that leverage this on-hand computing power. Our goal is to enable and inform patients, and we’ve chosen to focus on children with asthma and their parents.
Asthma is often overlooked and underfunded due to its mostly benign nature. At times it is deadly. The tragedy is that the 250,000 global asthma related deaths are usually avoidable – some would say completely preventable. digiDoc’s Asthma Whistle and the accompanying app plus cloud solution will help parents track their child’s asthma so they may contact their doctor significant time ahead of serious exacerbations. We will prevent a lot of suffering and hopefully also save a few lives.
What sets you apart from competitors?
Our device is very simple and affordable. It is easy to use, i.e. even small children down to 4 years of age or children with minor disorders will be able to use the device. This is mainly due to the device being a simple whistle. The auditory feedback is very important for the user interaction.
The rest of our technology is software-based, so we can quickly iterate, improve, and adapt the product.
What’s your business model?
We will sell the Asthma Whistle along with a 1-year subscription to the cloud features. It is possible to use the whistle as a simple PEF meter without the subscription, but we are confident that users will renew their subscription once they have experienced the advantages of the cloud features. We expect to receive orders through our app or website.
Can you share some numbers? How many users do you have?
As the product hasn’t been released yet, we do not have any numbers, but the interest has been very high.
Where do you see the company going from here?
There’s 12.1 million children with asthma in Northern Europe and the U.S. combined. We believe 10–20% of these patients and their parents are interested in our service, and eventually that market will increase with the rise of mHealth to 50%.
Where do you see the mHealth industry going?
I believe it is going to be one of the main technology industries along with IoT in the coming years. Starting today, we are beginning to see a shift in how people receive medical help. Doctors will still be central, but the way patients interact with them will change radically.
How long are we from seeing modern mHealth technologies going mainstream?
No more than 1–2 years. Products like AliveCor’s ECG for smartphones are already being sold to afib patients, but we expect Scanadu’s Scout to be the real game changer. I still don’t know where the Apple Watch will stand in all this, but I guess we’ll see…