Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Careverge Says It’s the First HIPAA-Compliant Social Network

Careverge launches today as a privacy-focused social platform for health and fitness, where users share highly personal information about themselves under pseudonyms.

The idea is to provide a resourceful community, as well as a “gamification” service that incentivizes better health. Users can do things like set up and track fitness goals and get SMS reminders to take medication.

The Careverge site is a product of Audax Health, a Washington, D.C.-based company that has raised $16 million from investors including New Leaf Ventures, TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson, former Aetna CEO Jack Rowe and former Apple CEO John Sculley.

Audax CEO Grant Verstandig said he believes Careverge is the first social network to receive HIPAA compliance, indicating a high level of security for users’ personal health data.

Verstandig, 22, dropped out of Brown University to found Audax, after seven knee surgeries effectively ended his career as a lacrosse player.

His business plan is to make money from health insurers, who give their customers promo codes to sign up for Careverge anonymously, in return for deductions on premiums.

Insurers receive anonymized information about their members, with the intent of reducing costs by having healthier customers. The behavioral-health-focused ValueOptions is one such client.

The trick will be getting users to buy into Careverge’s privacy and security controls. It does seem a little odd to sign up for a site at the invitation of your insurance provider, and trust that your insurance provider doesn’t get to track your participation.

Verstandig said Careverge users can opt to share some of their identifiable information with their insurer at their own discretion; for instance, one Careverge customer invited its members to opt in to get a coupon for a free flu shot.

Audax is already a sizeable company of 53 people, and is raising more funding now, Verstandig said.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work