Company Spotlight: HiNounou – Gamifying Preventative in China


As patients and consumers grow more educated and proactive in managing their own health and wellbeing, new ventures are hoping to serve their needs in not just prophylactic but also preventative health. HiNounou is a nifty little start-up based in Shanghai seeking to redefine the health management app.


Health is the result of a number of dimensions: genetics, biology, social environment and living conditions

Charles Bark, CEO, HiNounou


Unlike the health tracking apps that are already a dime a dozen in mobile app stores, HiNounou has provided a holistic solution with four elements.


  1. A gene-testing product – a simple saliva swab test – co-created with the third-largest DNA testing lab in China, which can evaluate the top ten risks of elderly people including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.


2. The mobile connected device. HiNounou has partnered with the second-largest smartphone player in China, ZTE, to design and provide smartphones dedicated to elderly people. As a minimum requirement, for instance, everything is much bigger. The app comes preloaded and the phone also has a unique hardware SOS button on the back on the phone to connect the caller to a pre-designated number and send the geo-location of the caller. 1.2 million of these phones have already been sold. Along with this comes different types of diagnostic medical devices such as blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters.


3. Insurance protection, which HiNounou has partnered with two of the world’s leading insurance companies, AXA and Ping An, to provide. This gives HiNounou customers accidental and death insurance up to 100 years old without underwriting, which is highly unusual in China because no private commercial insurance is offered here after the average healthy life expectancy – 68 – as it is deemed too risky.


The fourth and final piece of the puzzle, however, is key. Bark points out, “medtech IoT has not yet proven to work [very] effectively because many people do not use it for more than a few months. Patient adherence is a problem within the entire industry.” Therefore, Bark stresses, “the fourth aspect to our solution is really critical to our success: gamification. HiNounou works with Sodexo, one of the major companies in reward and incentive programs, to allow users to earn so-called ‘Nounou’ tokens, which can be exchanged for Sodexo coupons – real incentives that can be used in over 10,000 venues across China.” With real-world benefits accruing to users, HiNounou might be a gamechanger for elderly health management globally.


Read the full interview with HiNounou’s Charles Bark

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