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Software that takes a broad view of health care

October 2009

Published in the October 2009 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

WHEN RAJIV MEHTA BEGAN BUILDING SOFTWARE to help patients with multiple diseases, his first instinct was to create a tool that would help them remember and keep track of the drugs they were taking and the symptoms they should watch out for. But he very quickly realized that most patients wanted more.

That’s why the application he eventually built, Zume Life, does much more than send users a reminder to take a medication or measure glucose levels. It takes a much broader view of its users, allowing them to track trends about the breathing exercises they’re supposed to be doing or their day-to-day stress levels.

Mr. Mehta, who is CEO of Zume Life Inc., a San Jose startup, says that he realized that patients were looking for help managing all kinds of data that relate to their health. “We asked ourselves how we could make it easier for people to deal with the day-to-day health regimen they have to follow,” he explains, “whether that’s remembering to take a pill or to keep note of their eating or sleeping patterns.”

Zume Life was built primarily for patients with multiple medical conditions. It includes a mobile application, Zuri, currently available only for the iPhone, and a companion Web site. That makes it stand out in a market where many products focus on a single disease like diabetes.

“Life is so busy for most people that it’s difficult to keep on top of things,” Mr. Mehta says. “For people with multiple chronic illnesses, the number of little things they have to do every day quickly becomes a logistical nightmare.”

While only a couple of hundred patients are currently using Zume Life, Mr. Mehta says the product has already demonstrated just how much it can improve users’ health. Patients tend to not only show greater compliance with medical regimens, but they have more confidence in their ability to care for themselves.

“They can actually get through their to-do lists,” Mr. Mehta explains, “which helps motivate them to take charge of their health.”

The Zume Life service costs about $30 a month. More information is online at www.zumelife.com.