Longevity Network
  • Apr 19, 2017
  • Ryan Howard

Entrepreneur of the Week: Ryan Howard, iBeat

Entrepreneur of the Week: Ryan Howard, iBeat

Last week, ten caregiving health tech finalists competed in AARP’s Innovation@50+ LivePitch event in Mountain View, CA. (Click here for our wrap of the event). The Longevity Network is delighted to be featuring one finalist per week in our Entrepreneur of the Week segment for the next ten weeks.

We begin with Ryan Howard, founder and CEO of iBeat, a company that makes a cardiac-monitoring smartwatch as well as an app for activating their “Heart Hero network”. The watch can alert authorities, loved ones and a whole network of Heart Heroes when a cardiac incident occurs.

Longevity Network: What does iBeat, the company, do?

Ryan Howard: iBeat is a health technology company empowering people with the freedom to be fearless, explore, and live longer lives. We aim to make the world safer by giving people the fastest access to care in the event of an emergency. We do so through our two products – the iBeat Watch and the free Heart Hero mobile app. The iBeat Watch is a sleek and stylish smartwatch that continually monitors and analyzes users’ 24-7 heart activity, while the Heart Hero app trains users on CPR and enables them to be a lifesaving hero. The iBeat team is comprised of several veterans of Practice Fusion, the largest cloud-based patient physician platform in the U.S. and is dedicated to improving health outcomes and helping pave the future of care delivery.

LN: Can you tell us about your product and how it works? 

RH: The iBeat Watch continuously monitors and analyzes users’ 24-7 heart activity and can instantly detect the signs of oncoming cardiac arrest (a sudden cessation of heart function). Other devices only passively monitor your heart rate, where iBeat actively and constantly monitors your heart health, and can get you help any time you may need it.

If the iBeat Watch detects a life-threatening emergency, iBeat will instantly alert the user, their loved ones, emergency responders, and our hero network in real-time, helping ensure immediate care delivery and potentially saving the user’s life.

The iBeat Watch does not need a cell phone, mobile app, Bluetooth connectivity, or Wi-Fi to function. The device is fully cellular, while built-in GPS ensures the user’s loved ones and first response teams know exactly where the user is in an emergency. In such an instance, emergency contacts will get a text with a link showing where the user is and where they are in-transit so they can meet them at the hospital or nearby care center.

Users will also have access to an online dashboard where they can see their daily, weekly, and monthly overall heart health (beats per minutes, heart pattern changes, etc.) and compare it to others within their age range. The device is also equipped with a Help On-Demand button which, when long-pressed for two seconds, will allow users to reach out to their emergency contacts, or if needed, 911.

LN: What opportunity did you see that you wanted to address with the creation of your product?

RH: Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 325,000 people a year. Nine out of ten people who have a cardiac arrest incident without intervention die. In fact, the number of people who die each year from cardiac arrest is roughly equivalent to the number who die from Alzheimer’s disease, assault with firearms, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, HIV, house fires, motor vehicle accidents, prostate cancer and suicides combinediBeat’s mission is to empower people to be fearless, explore, and live longer lives, by helping them live their lives without concern that they will not be able to get help in an emergency. Additionally, by quickening care delivery, the iBeat Watch can prevent fatal heart incidents, improve the quality of life for those at risk, and most importantly, lower the number of deaths from sudden cardiac arrest. No other smartwatch, heart-rate monitor, or PERS device currently does this.

LN: Who are your primary users? How will your product benefit the 50+ population?

RH: The iBeat Watch is a lifesaving smartwatch and targeted at individuals aged 55+, as well as people who are at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. We are addressing the PERS (personal emergency response system) market that has a handful of players, but none of these players are focused on wearables that can help mobilize our growing aging population. With iBeat, users are free to explore, take walks, run errands, and live their lives with the peace of mind knowing their heart is constantly being monitored and they can get help in an instant if needed. More importantly, they will rest assured they have a network of family, friends, first responders and CPR-trained Heart Heroes who can save their life in an emergency.

LN: How did you assemble your team?

RH: I spent the past decade building Practice Fusion, the largest cloud-based EHR (electronic health record) platform helping connect doctors, patients, and data to drive better health and save lives. I’m applying many of my learnings, including incorporating the DNA that established our award-winning culture and product, as well as reconciling some of the mistakes I made at Practice Fusion. I believe in building technology that will be massively impactful to the community, and like Practice Fusion, iBeat will also have the potential to save lives, but in a more direct and personal manner – by speeding the delivery of care. I’ve built a team with several former Practice Fusion veterans who are dedicated to improving health outcomes and helping pave the future of care delivery.

LN: How has what happened with your company differed from what you envisioned would happen?

RH: Our vision has grown much larger thanks to our growing network of lifesavers so we’re adding on the Heart Hero app. The network component has helped us shape our core business value proposition.

LN: What do you wish you had known before developing your product?

RH: How much hardware building we’d be doing!

LN: What most excites you about the aging/health technology market?

RH: The ability to not only save lives, but also keep people alive longer in a segment where it’s never been achieved before.

LN: What is your best piece of advice for startups who want to include or target the aging / tech market?

RH: Have a value proposition the lay person can understand. Don’t message your solution in a way that’s about technology (i.e. AI, the cloud, SaaS, etc.). It needs to be short, concise, and easy to understand.

LN: Where do you see your company five years from now?

RH: I see iBeat as a public company.

LN: What health or wellness technology do you hope exists by the time you retire?

RH: Drones delivering lifesaving care via the iBeat Heart Hero Network

About the Author

Ryan Howard is the Founder and CEO of iBeat, and the founder and former CEO and chairman of Practice Fusion. He founded Practice Fusion in 2005 and grew it into the largest EHR (Electronic Health Record) Platform for doctors and patients in the US. Serving over 110 million patients, the platform connects doctors, pharmacies, labs, and imaging centers to solve healthcare’s biggest challenges. Today, he is a social entrepreneur with a focus on delivering better health and saving lives through the use of technology. He has been recognized as one of the Top 40 under 40 by the San Francisco Business Times, Silicon Valley 100 by Business Insider, 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2013 by Goldman Sachs and was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. He has spoken on health technology and innovation at Microsoft, Stanford, UC Berkeley, HIMSS, SDForum, VentureBeat’s HealthBeat, Health 2.0, Vator, and Commonwealth Club events and has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Wired as an innovative leader in the sector.

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