“I’ve always been interested in medicine, but never wanted to become a doctor,” says scientist turned entrepreneur Zhendong Song.
The China native came to the United States in 2001 and received a PhD in biomedical engineering from IIT in Chicago, followed by a Masters in healthcare administration from the University of Minnesota. He then spent eight years in corporate America at Medtronic, designing algorithms for medical devices and conducting clinical studies.
Now, Song is one of three founders at Minnesota startup WiggleMed, a consumer health platform that pairs patients together via private social network with custom curated content.
Their motto “engage, inform, connect,” is focused first on serving the estimated 25m-50m US residents living with autoimmune disease.
“Society, and even physicians, knows very little about how lifestyle and behavior affect their conditions,” Song explains. “But these people know firsthand what it’s like to live in their shoes.”
WiggleMed’s approach is to group patients together anonymously, empowering them with the tools and support that help to manage their unique situations.
“Google, WebMD, and other content libraries are great at providing vast levels of general information. We are taking that to the next level to help these people identify and connect peer to peer to provide more relevant and personalized information.”
The bootstrapped startup is pre-revenue with 130+ registered users on the platform. Because the content is sourced from 3rd parties and they store no personal information, Song maintains that WiggleMed is not subject to the same level of scrutinity under HIPAA or FDA regulations.