Image of heart and circulatory system

Image of the heart and circulatory system

Hello Heart Digital Therapy Company announced On Tuesday, it launched a new feature on its app that allows users to track and understand their cholesterol levels.

Hello heartThe app, available on Google Play and the Apple App Store, focuses solely on heart health and helps people track blood pressure, heart rate, medications, weight, activity and now cholesterol. It also connects to Apple Health and Google Fit for activity data. The company, based in Menlo Park, Calif., and founded in 2013, sells primarily to self-insured employers to offer its app as an employee benefit. Clients include several Fortune 500 companies, such as Delta Air Lines and Northwestern Mutual.

The new feature, called My Cholesterol, allows users to put all their cholesterol readings from clinics and labs in one place. It also alerts users when they should get tested next, lets them schedule appointments at nearby clinics, and provides them with digital coaching on lifestyle changes that can improve cholesterol levels. Users can see their cholesterol trends over time, along with explanations.

With the feature, Hello Heart is the first company to offer a model for managing hyperlipidemia (when a person’s blood has too much lipid or fat), says Maayan Cohen, co-founder and CEO.

“[There are] two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” Cohen said. “One is blood pressure, the other is hyperlipidemia. Both are severely undermanaged because you can’t see them, you can’t feel them, so people ignore them.

Cohen added that the Hello Heart app and cholesterol feature are especially important for women, who are severely undertreated for heart disease and die from heart attacks at twice the rate of men. The My Cholesterol feature provides different recommendations for men and women because estrogen, a hormone found in higher amounts in women, is related to cholesterol. When estrogen levels decline, levels of bad LDL cholesterol rise, while levels of good HDL cholesterol fall, according to Cleveland Clinic. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

“[Women] get to the emergency room 38 minutes later, they don’t understand their symptoms, their clinical teams sometimes don’t understand their symptoms, and they’re just ignored and then they die of a heart attack, which is terrible,” Cohen said. “Especially as a female leader, that’s something I personally hold dear.”

The company also achieved results. Peer-reviewed clinical trials from University of California at San Francisco and on University of California, Los Angeles and Harvard found that the app was able to lower blood pressure for members who used it. Report of Validation Institute also found that Hello Heart reduced total medical costs by 19% per user per year for employers.

Hello Heart has yet to conduct a clinical study of cholesterol function, but hopes to once it gathers more data among its users, Cohen said.

There are others in the chronic condition management space, including Livongo, Omada and A lark. But Cohen said Hello Heart differs in that it specializes specifically in heart health, rather than offering solutions to a range of health problems.

“I think to drive real engagement and real results, you have to specialize … If you expand too broadly, sometimes you become master of nothing,” she said.

Photo: Magicmine, Getty Images

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