mHealth Solution Cora Aims To Improve Hypertension Through Self-Monitoring

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Josef Moser and Melanie Hetzer, the founders behind the mobile health solution Cora, aim to enable hypertension patients to control of their own destiny - without medication. To us, they spoke about how Cora helps form a healthy lifestyle that naturally improves heart health.

How would you describe Cora in a few words?

Cora is a mobile app that aims to improve the heart health of blood pressure patients by helping them form healthy habits.

What inspired you to create the app? How did it all start?

We started Cora after our fathers were diagnosed with hypertension. We were startled at how little attention and care they received to treat their condition. Even worse so, all treatment approaches were concentrated towards treating the symptom high blood pressure with drugs rather than its underlying causes.

We felt that we had to do something about this situation to help the millions of patients that are left alone with the condition and, of course, to help our own fathers.

Cora provides users with scientifically backed lifestyle recommendations. What kind of recommendations are we talking about?

To understand how our lifestyle recommendations work it’s important to know that primary hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure, is almost always the result of an unhealthy lifestyle.

This also means that in many cases, primary hypertension is – depending on its stage and the patient’s condition – partly reversible through simple lifestyle modifications. These modifications include regular exercise, such as swimming or cycling, taking more time to relax and eating healthy. Cora guides its users through this process by providing them with scientifically-backed fitness and wellness recommendations inside the app as well as lots of educational content via our newsletter.

Are you using Cora internally? How does that affect the viewpoints of the development team?

Even though it’s our fathers who are affected by high blood pressure and not us, we read our blood pressure on a regular basis and track it with Cora. This helps us to improve our product. Additionally, we regularly reach out to our customers to learn about their usage behavior and get feedback on how we can improve.

You’re supported by HealthTech Nordic, Health2B Accelerator and the University of Lund (Sweden). In what ways have these partners helped you develop Cora? What are the main benefits of working with them?

As an alumni company of Lund University’s master program in Entrepreneurship, we have received a lot of business advice prior to starting-up and still receive assistance, for instance in terms of sharing common networks to attract talents and partners. Similarly, the HealthTech Nordic community helps us broaden our network and supports us with regular workshops on topics concerning our business such as the upcoming GDPR.

The closest and most valuable partnership for us, however, has been the participation in the Health2B accelerator program. The program significantly helped us defining our value proposition.

What is the biggest challenge that your company has faced?

As startup founders, we face different kinds of challenges every day – from development to HR. The biggest challenge we face, however, is reaching the people who are affected by high blood pressure. We know there are millions of them out there and we would love to help them improve their condition with Cora.

The healthcare sector is highly disruptive – from robotics to gene editing just to name a few developments. From your perspective, what are the innovations this industry will experience in the near future?

The healthcare sector is, in our opinion, one of the sectors where digital disruption is still at a very early stage. This partly lies in the high regulation of the sector which obstructs innovations.

However, this will change rapidly within the next decade. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing and account for about 15% of the GDP of many Western countries – a fact that policymakers and insurances will no longer be able to ignore. Therefore, a lot of the innovations will be spurred by the aim to reduce healthcare costs. The new technologies we will see include telemedicine for patient care, big data and AI for diagnostics, blockchain technology for data security and identity management, and consumer apps like Cora for the treatment of chronic conditions and disorders.

What’s next for Cora?

Cora is currently only available on iPhone. Our main focus is, therefore, to make Cora available on new platforms such as iPad or Android and help more people to improve their blood pressure.

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

In our opinion, the most important success factor for any business is to develop a product-market-fit. But the only way you achieve a product-market-fit is by knowing your customers. Hence, founders should be very aware of who their customers are and talk to as many of them as possible to find out their true wants and needs.



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