Solving Big Problems
By: Laura Yecies
Date: June 22, 2022
I frequently get asked why I joined Bone Health Technologies so I thought it would be helpful to share my story about that here. We’re maturing as a company and as we’re getting closer to bringing our product to market it seemed like the time to begin a more frequent conversation with our prospective patients, clinicians, and all those who care about improving bone health so time to start blogging! I’m really excited about our work so check this page often as I plan to post more in the next few weeks.
For my entire career, I have been thrilled by the power of technology to improve daily life, not just for a few people but at scale. I used to love getting emails from users at SugarSync when our sync and share product, novel at the time, helped them get a job or even save a wedding. Introducing browser tabs at Netscape, new Yahoo email features…the knowledge that millions of people had our technology on their devices was both professionally satisfying and personally inspiring.
The idea that we can apply scalable technology solutions to healthcare has motivated me to refocus my energies of late into the health technology field. While there is something truly sacred about the one-to-one doctor-patient relationship, the idea of technology-style leverage – being able to create a product that touches millions of people is special in its own right. And these two modalities are synergistic – we aim to get our technology into the toolbox (or doctor’s bag) of hundreds of thousands of primary care doctors everywhere.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to be part of some important health technology solutions. When I was CEO at SyncThink, we brought essential neurological diagnostics to dozens of leading clinics and sports teams. I had the privilege to bring my marketing and strategy expertise as a consultant to Akili Interactive – the first video-game-based ADHD therapeutic available for millions of children. I was excited to help Fabric Genomics on their important journey to democratize access to rare disease diagnosis and hereditary risk screening.
When I met the founding team at Bone Health Technologies, I was immediately intrigued by the vision to solve bone health conditions. Fractures due to low bone density affect half of all women at some point in their lives – more than heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined! Working at the Margaret Tietz nursing home for my summer job during college, I saw firsthand the seriousness and devastating effects of hip fractures. Hip fracture one-year survival rates haven’t improved significantly in more than 25 years – about 30% of patients don’t survive a year. Of those who survive a hip fracture, nearly half lose their independence.
But what took my breath away was the numbers afflicted: there are 64 million Americans with low bone density and no prescription treatments safe enough to use in the early stages of the condition – when prevention and treatment can have the most significant impact. There is no statin or beta-blocker equivalent, e.g., a safe, effective treatment that is helpful to begin using at the early signs of conditions that risk long-term health. The current state of osteoporosis treatment is akin to waiting until the arteries are nearly blocked or a heart attack – the bone health equivalent of a fracture – to begin treatment.
Given this vast unmet need, I was determined that if we had even a long-shot possibility of efficacy, I wanted to be “all in”. Once I became familiar with the breadth of evidence on whole body vibration and saw the results of our early proof of concept study showing the positive effect of the Osteoboost device on bone turnover markers, I was convinced.
“It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it” is a Jewish saying that has always held deep meaning for me. Working to solve big and significant problems is inspiring. But the size of the challenge can be daunting, leading us not to try – not to even start.
That’s not stopping the Bone Health Technologies team – we started on this long ago. The idea that we can help improve the quality of life for millions of women as they transition to their senior years is too great an opportunity to miss.