ATLANTA/NEW YORK–September 29, 2016– Sharecare, the digital health company helping people manage all their health in one place, today announced at Advertising Week 2016 that it is acquiring BioLucid, the leading developer of virtual reality and immersive healthcare technology, including the YOU® VR experience available for HTC VIVE. The acquisition and resulting launch of the Sharecare Reality Lab position Sharecare as the leader in visual health, empowering its users and their loved ones; healthcare providers and patients; educators and students; and pharmaceutical companies and their customers to better communicate and understand medical diagnoses, treatments and patient journeys.
Though virtual reality is being used in some niche areas of healthcare—and related hardware is increasingly user-friendly and affordable—the need to purchase additional equipment will continue to be a barrier to entry for many consumers. Therefore, in addition to making the YOU® VR experience available on other virtual reality platforms in the near future, Sharecare is leveraging BioLucid’s health content across its web and mobile applications so people can view–with or without a VR headset–immersive and accurate anatomical simulations of the human body, including disease states, and related treatments and therapies.
“Visual storytelling technologies–particularly virtual reality blended with 360-degree video–have boundless potential in healthcare and patient engagement, yet consumer-facing innovation in VR has been limited mostly to entertainment and gaming,” said Jeff Arnold, chairman and CEO of Sharecare. “By differentiating our platform with BioLucid’s immersive simulation of the human body, we can turn data into actionable, visual intelligence, and make a transformative impact on patient engagement, health literacy, medical education and therapy adherence.”
Sharecare will combine BioLucid’s real-time simulation of the human body with 360-degree video and augmented reality to help patients and providers better understand what each is experiencing by telling the story of patient journeys through scientifically accurate, deep visualizations of conditions, disease states and therapies. From first awareness of symptoms through all stages of treatment and follow-up, these interactive experiences will enable you to view the perspectives of the patient, caregiver or provider at each step in their healthcare journey, fostering empathy and understanding among all healthcare constituents.
Sharecare also is offering its partners–from educational institutions to medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, and providers–ways to maximize opportunities to obtain unprecedented visual context to discuss healthy physiology, disease and treatment. For example, an Ivy League institution has licensed the BioLucid platform and content so educators can teach students anatomy and physiology in a much more visual and experiential way. Pharmaceutical and medical device marketers can also license the platform and content to create their own custom materials, and sponsor existing information related to organs, treatments and therapies. Finally, for providers who license the platform and content for patient education, the potential is powerful, as more informed patients have better recoveries, reduced readmissions and improved satisfaction; and the visual nature of the platform transcends language barriers for non-English speaking patients.
“As a neurosurgeon, it’s not sufficient simply to tell a patient what’s happening inside their brain, or how a course of treatment will improve their health or even save their life; rather, in many cases, they need to see it to believe it–much less understand it,” said Sanjay Gupta, MD, a practicing neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent. “I’ve long been fascinated with technology’s ability to fuel human optimization, and patient education is an area in which we can greatly improve–that’s why I was immediately intrigued by what Sharecare can achieve with BioLucid’s interactive simulations. I’m looking forward to seeing how visual health can make a positive impact on episodic care, and potentially alter the course of a person’s health journey every day.”
As an extension of Sharecare’s vision to lead in visual health and put all your health in one place, the company is exploring how it can pave the way for the medical record of the future by enabling people to see what’s happening inside their own bodies. Today, even if a patient successfully obtains their medical record, they learn quickly that the two-dimensional stack of paper lacks context and is too clinical for the average patient to understand.
To counter that, as part of each user’s Sharecare profile, the newly formed Sharecare Reality Lab is prototyping a unique “living avatar” that dynamically changes as a person does. Whether it’s an improvement in RealAge, a migraine identified in an AskMD consultation, the seasonal allergies that prompted a telehealth visit, or frictionless data–like heart rate or stress level–captured by sensors and trackers on a smartphone, your avatar will be a comprehensive three-dimensional model of you, detailing how your actions and habits are impacting your health at a micro and macro level–and, in the future, could become your living, breathing medical record.
As part of the deal, BioLucid’s co-founders Jeff Hazelton, Lawrence Kiey and Dale Park are joining Sharecare, and will retain their office in Sarasota, Florida, under the name Sharecare Reality Lab. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Sharecare is a health and wellness engagement solution providing people with personalized resources to help them live their healthiest lives. Nearly 41 million people have shared more than 6 billion data points about their health status and habits with Sharecare, which uses that information to create a comprehensive health profile allowing users to access all of their health resources in one place, and dynamically connect to the knowledge, evidence-based programs and health professionals they need.
 VIVE is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality platform developed by HTC and Valve for total immersion in virtual worlds. Designed from the ground up for room-scale VR and true-to-life interactions, VIVE delivers on the promise of VR with technology that’s game changing and content that’s best in class. VIVE has been recognized with over 65 awards and wide critical acclaim since its unveiling in 2015. For more information, please visit www.vive.com.