Of the 25 million children between the ages of six months and six years old, more than 15 percent show risk factors for amblyopia, the leading cause of visual impairment in children. In addition, only 20 percent of children receive proper vision screenings. Gobiquity Mobile Health, Inc., an OHSU startup company founded in 2010, specializes in prescribed mobile health diagnostics and is on a mission to end amblyopia through early screening and diagnosis. Its flagship technology, GoCheck Kids, is a smartphone application that provides specialty testing in primary care, turning a standard smartphone into an optical photo screening device.
Since the company’s creation, GoCheck Kids has screened more than 50,000 children. Using an integrated photo screener, a highly engaging approach to derive visual acuity measurements, and recommended screening protocols, physicians can detect amblyopia risk factors in children as young as six months old. By helping pediatricians detect amblyopia risk factors in patients at such a young age, children can receive treatment early when it is most effective.
The GoCheck Kids platform is unique from other technologies in this space due to its:
- Multi-functional abilities, making it much more cost-effective compared to single-purpose “in office” photo screening instruments
- Easy-to-use and time-saving operation for primary care (e.g. pediatricians) offices, which may eliminate the need for seeing a specialist
- Mobile network that sends data directly to physicians, streamlining the early detection and diagnostic processes to ultimately improve patient care
David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., a leading ophthalmologist and co-inventor of the first Optical Coherence Tomogoraphy (OCT) imaging technology, is the inventor of GoCheck Kids and founder of Gobiquity Mobile Health. The GoCheck Kids technology was licensed from OHSU to Gobiquity in 2014.
Gobiquity hit several major milestones in 2015. In addition to an iPhone 6 compatible release of GoCheck Kids, the company also added a visual acuity test for children, which makes the technology more broadly useful to physicians. It plans to add connectivity to electronic health records to the next set of software releases. A round of Series A funding was successfully completed, and Gobiquity now has its sights set on closing Series B in 2016.
The current Gobiquity management team recognizes that mobile health is a fast moving space with several challenges. For digital health to be successful, it should be able to improve workflow efficiency and/or reduce costs. To make the business case, physicians have to be able to use Gobiquity apps on every patient encounter in order for it to be continually useful. As such, next steps for the company include expanding their pediatric vision platform, as well as adding early detection solutions for adults. Their end goal is to provide a comprehensive vision platform for both adults and children. The Gobiquity team hopes to be the “go to” company for mobile vision assessment.