Notes on Engineering Health, August 2019

In August 1900, German mathematician David Hilbert presented a paper at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris. Rather than reviewing a new mathematical solution, the paper was simply a list of ten problems, each of which was unsolved at the time (the list was later extended to include a total of 23 unsolved problems). In some cases, a problem on the list was solved quickly (problem #3 was solved during the same year the paper was presented); in some cases, the problems led to the creation of entirely new mathematical sub-disciplines (problem #11 led to quadratic forms; problem #16 to real algebraic curves); and in some cases, the problems were deemed to be improperly formed (problem #4 is generally regarded as too vague to support a definitive answer). Overall, though, Hilbert’s List had a catalyzing effect on the math community — causing it to self-organize against the key challenges laid out in his problem set.

Digitalis invests in solutions to complex problems in health. In doing so, we aspire to framing and tackling Hilbert-level open problems in fields relevant to our mission. This newsletter will periodically provide notes on our efforts in an attempt to “show our work.” We invite you to be in touch with your ideas about important problems and potential solutions. And we look forward to working with you to develop the best solutions at scale to deliver better health to all.

Geoffrey W. Smith

Consumerization of Healthcare
Walgreens Find Care Platform Introduces Chronic Care Management for Patients with Diabetes, Asthma and COPD
Press Release > Med City News >

Hospital closures prompt rural Americans to shift to telehealth

“Scientific wellness” searches for a business model
Nature Biotechnology >

Top 40 Trends In Digital Health In One Complex Infographic
The Medical Futurist >

Food as Medicine
HyperFoods: Machine intelligent mapping of cancer-beating molecules in foods
Nature Scientific Reports >

The Ketogenic Diet for Obesity and Diabetes — Enthusiasm Outpaces Evidence
JAMA Internal Medicine >

Association Between Receipt of a Medically Tailored Meal Program and Health Care Use
JAMA Internal Medicine >

One Health
Genetic similarities of osteosarcoma between dogs and children: Novel findings for this deadly bone cancer could lead to better treatments for people and pets
Science Daily >

New Investments

Aunt Bertha
Participated in $16 million Series C investment led by Noro Moseley Partners.

Aunt Bertha is a social care network that provides the largest closed loop referral network for social services in the United States.

Portfolio News

Second Genome
Microbiome therapeutics go small molecule.
Nature >

Elemental Machines
Cambridge startup seeks to tackle life science industry’s $28B problem.
Boston Business Journal >

Aunt Bertha
How Entrepreneur Erine Gray is Bringing Technology to the Nonprofit World (While Generating Revenue, Too).
Austinpreneur podcast >

The Digitalis Commons is a non-profit that partners with groups and individuals striving to address complex health problems by building solutions that are frontier-advancing, open-access, and scalable. Some of our current projects include:

DiMe Society
The Digital Medicine (DiMe) Society is a professional society for practitioners of digital medicine. It creates a community of experts centered on the concept of driving scientific progress and the wide acceptance of digital medicine as a professional discipline capable of significantly impacting public health through improved health measurement, diagnosis and treatment.

The Digitalis Commons serves on the society’s scientific advisory board as well as having been a founding financial sponsor for the society.

You can read the press release about DiMe’s launch, have a look at its first publication, and follow DiMe on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Dart Grants
The Digitalis Commons offers quick, targeted $3,000 grants to individuals and groups working to develop public goods for better health.

To learn more about Dart Grants, visit



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Digitalis invests in solutions to complex problems in health.