Curatio wants to be Tinder plus Facebook for health and disease communities
Anyone going through a health crisis or living with a chronic condition is familiar with the same struggle: you want to find people who understand what’s going on in your life, but to find those people, you’d probably have to share information about your health more widely than is comfortable.
Curatio is trying to solve both those problems. The social app promises to be a combination of Tinder and Facebook for health—and a way to combat the isolation and stigma that can come with health issues.
“It’s a pain point every single person has at some point in their lives, for themselves or for a family member or friend,” said Curatio founder Lynda Ganzert-Brown. “If you’re mid-stride in your career, you’re probably not going to go onto a social media platform and say, ‘I just got diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.’ It’s not the same type of social experience as looking for a restaurant recommendation.”
Curatio first launched through a startup competition in 2013 and revamped in past weeks to serve 10 different health communities. The app acts like an online dating app to connect you with people who have similar health experiences, down to exactly which symptoms they’re experiencing. Then, anyone you connect with becomes part of your network to create a news feed that’s like a HIPAA-compliant version of Facebook.
“It’s a pain point every single person has at some point in their lives.”
Since health information is involved, privacy is key. Anything you share only goes to people you’ve approved to see it. And you can’t be totally anonymous, but you don’t have to use your real identity.
There’s also an AI concierge to answer questions about health information and a section for personal disease management and health tracking. Curatio also licenses its technology to other health providers and communities for their own social tools.
So there are a lot of moving parts, especially when you consider that there are various different communities on Curatio: menopause, traumatic brain injury, heart disease, the blood disease Thalassemia, Crohn’s disease and colitis, Type 1 diabetes, and a community for caregivers.
Shirley Weir founded the Facebook group Menopause Chicks, which transferred their community over to Curatio.
“If somebody comes to my community [on Facebook] and says, ‘I’m losing hair,’ I can give them information on experts or books,” Weir said. “It’s different to say, ‘Talk to these four women who also experienced hair loss.'”
Curatio users can be members of multiple communities. Many people in its menopause community, whose average members are women in their late 40s, are often dealing with other health conditions, especially as caregivers, Weir said.
Ganzert-Brown declined to provider user metrics, but said Curatio users are now in 31 countries.
The health tech space is hot right now—even Apple is devoting significant resources to healthcare apps.
By putting disease management tools in the same place as a specialized version of Facebook where everyone understands what you’re going through, Curatio hopes to cut through the noise.