polkalogoPolka‘s mission is to make your up-to-date basic health information available to you all the time, on the web or your iPhone. They claim that their ‘secure aggregation and collaboration service’ can help users manage their health. Here is what they offer:

  • My Health – An application to store your basic health information (allergies, meds, diagnosis, emergency contacts, and a twitter-ish 140 char Health Log). Available as a 99¢ iPhone app or a free online dashboard.
  • If Found+ – A 99¢ iPhone app that can display a short message and contact info on the wallpaper of a locked iPhone.
  • My Emergency Info – Another 99¢ app that essentially does the same this as If Found+ but instead of a short message, you can show ‘summary health info’. (So how is this different if I choose to write health info as the message in If Found+? I’m not sure.)
  • Close Call – A free iPhone app that apparently does the same thing as If Found+ and My Emergency Info. It displays important emergency contact info as a part of wallpaper on a locked iPhone. Don’t know how that is different from the other two 99¢ apps.

Polka is the first funded company created at the Lab2Market progam at UCSD Rady School of Management and they started around mid-2008. I think they are certainly on the right track since the fast-growing, 24X7 access mobile platform is ripe for healthcare information storage and communication.  Except that I’m lost at the product differentiation and pricing level. In terms of competition, there are other In-Case-of-Emergency category apps available for the iPhone like Easy I.C.E for 99¢, EMT ICE for $1.99, Health n Me Pro for $2.99. None of them do any better job at it, though.

There are rough edges to what Polka offers today (tried their online dashboard.. not particularly impressive) but that may be understandable given that they are relatively new startup. iPhone apps are fine, but I think online dashboard may be a stretch unless there is a really ground-breaking, never-before feature that they can offer. Why not integrate with Google Health/Healthvault for the online PHR-like functionality right out of the box?

September 2010 Update: Polka.com doesnt work anymore. Although the applications are still available on iTunes store.