Nymbl Science, a 2017 Prime Health Challenge winner, is on mission to prevent 1 million falls. Combining medical science and mobile technology, the company measures, tracks, and improves balance for seniors, helping to boost their confidence and enhance their quality of life. Nymbl’s solutions promote simultaneous cognitive work (“dual tasking”) that prepares the brain to respond to the distractions in life when elders are more prone to falling.
Prime Health sat down with Ed Likovich, Nymbl’s COO, to learn how being named a winner of the 2017 Prime Health Challenge has benefited the company in their mission to Prevent 1 Milion Falls.
How did you get involved with Nymbl Science?
I moved to Colorado in 2016, after serving as CEO of GoodLux, a wearables company in Boston. Soon after arriving in Colorado, I started working with Jack Tankersley of Meritage Funds as their Entrepreneur in Residence. There is a strong network in Colorado; I was always talking to people about something in digital health and healthcare. Through my connections at MergeLane, I met Tom Virden, the co-founder of Nymbl. I thought what they were doing was incredibly awesome. While the product hadn’t been launched yet, they had a strong beta version of their solution. I thought, “Good, I found the right thing. Let’s get started with this.”
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and my wife is from Colorado. We have two young kids and realized that Colorado is great place to raise a family. Of course, Colorado has a great reputation in the startup world, and Denver has become a digital health center. There is a lot going on here; a lot of smart people here.
What was your initial vision for Nymbl?
Dr. Jean-Pierre Farcy is the medical co-founder of Nymbl and a retired spine surgeon. He looked at outcomes from the surgeries that he and his team performed and discovered two things:
Two people having the same surgery would have different outcomes that weren’t easily explained. After some research, Dr. Farcy found that balance accounted for 80% of their outcomes. As a result, Dr. Farcy wouldn’t operate on people who didn’t have good balance. Balance is about the brain and the body working together. For example, many people, such as the elderly, can’t do memory recall as they are walking.
People tend to fall when they become distracted and haven’t maintained the cognitive bandwidth required to stay balance. The brain and the body need to be working equally well together. Based on this knowledge, we created an overarching vision statement – Preventing 1 Million Falls.
1 in 4 Americans aged 65 years and older report falling every year. Retrospective data shows 1 in 3 older Americans actually fall.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans.
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall.
Falls are the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from the after-effects of a fall.
What factors led to Nymbl participating in the 2017 Prime Health Challenge?
First of all, we were attracted to the brand recognition Prime Health has earned. Everyone knows that Prime Health is the go-to resource for digital health. The organization also has a strong reputation for helping startups succeed.
Secondly, we understood the impact we could achieve by presenting our solutions through partnerships with Prime Health. We knew we could have a real discussion with decision makers who say could say, “This is great and something we want to focus on,” or “This isn’t something we’re interested in.”
"We understood the impact we could achieve by presenting our solutions through partnerships with Prime Health. We knew we could have a real discussion with decision makers who say could say, “This is great and something we want to focus on,” or “This isn’t something we’re interested in.”
How was your experience with the Prime Health Challenge. What made it valuable for you and Nymbl?
The quality of the partners we’ve met has been valuable and surprising. I’ve been in the startup world long enough to have participated in programs that promise a lot but don’t always deliver. You can often finish a program and just have three lawyers who want your business. With Prime Health, people actually show up and work with you. It’s a peer group. It can be lonely in the startup world. You’re constantly fighting to get your vision out in the world and get people to listen to you. Partnering with Prime Health lowers the stress because you know there will be valuable outcomes from it.
The people and organizations that comprise the Prime Health ecosystem have a genuine desire to support you beyond your participation in the program. Mike Biselli has been a true leader and pioneer here with what he’s done at Catalyst HTI.
"The people and organizations that comprise the Prime Health ecosystem have a genuine desire to support you beyond your participation in the program."
- Ed Likovich - COO, Nymbl
What, if anything, surprised you about your experience with the Prime Health Challenge?
I was surprised by how much we as a company changed going through the program. As a startup you know you’re never 100% of what you want to be. Prior to participating in the Prime Health Challenge, we thought we were at roughly 20-30%. Their approach taught us what we need to be successful; what we need to have in place before having critical conversations, and what types of partners can coach us and help enable our success. Prime Health really helped us understand all of that.
Whom did you ultimately select as a provider from the Prime Health Challenge?
After our pitch, four people raised their hands. All of them are engaged with us including Centura Health, SCL Health, Kaiser Permanente, and UC Health. Every major healthcare system knows what a huge problem falls are. We’re excited to have a lot of people interested in us moving forward.
How did these partners help Nymbl grow and evolve its business model?
We were certainly exposed to a diversity of healthcare models. We also learned about different ROI models and how we needed to prove outcomes and tie dollar amounts to them.
The second you get to test software in a clinical setting, you begin to see all of the flaws in it. The greatest benefit for us is understanding workflow. Our solution has to immediately prove value and be easy to implement.
What advice would you give companies who are interested in participating in a future Prime Health Challenge?
I’m a big believer in the power of relationships. Companies are looking at who is connected to Prime Health – they want to build those relationships.
The first thing that comes to mind is Catalyst HTI. It’s such as benefit to being in a building with people who are adjacent to you solving similar or complementary problems. Congratulations to Mike for getting this off the ground. It’s a great place to be to meet people. The more people you meet and talk to, the more successful everyone gets.
What’s been done here is extraordinary. The impact and reach Prime Health and Catalyst HTI has is great to see.
About Nymbl Science
Nymbl Science is a mission-driven company committed to Preventing 1 Million Falls. By combining smartphone technology with evidence-based methodologies that include current science combining brain and exercise research, Nymbl differs from other fall prevention interventions in the following ways:
• Balance and improvement are measured and quantified
• Training is daily and requires less than 10 minutes per day
• Training occurs at home and when it is most convenient
• Simultaneous cognitive work (“dual tasking”) prepares the brain to respond to the distractions in life when elders are more prone to falling
Visit www.nymblscience.com for more information.