As various healthcare stakeholders look for ways to engage patients in a bid to keep them healthy and reduce overall costs, it is creating opportunities for companies who already have a connection with consumers.
One such company is dLife, based in Westport, Connecticut. The company has built a large audience of people with diabetes who watch its TV show on CNBC every Sunday and visit its website to access educational videos, exercise tips, recipes and connect with one another. The goal is to empower diabetics so they can lead healthy, fulfilled lives.
By connecting to about 2 million people a month, dLife has built up an expertise on what kind of content appeals to such an audience. More importantly, it understands what leads people to change behavior that is essential in anyone diagnosed with this chronic illness. That conceivably makes the company appealing to every health plan, provider and vendor who is striving to achieve patient engagement.
That realization has led dLife to take that expertise to launch a new business-to-business entity called dLife Healthcare Solutions. The goal is to increase dLife’s revenue by working with medical device makers, pharmaceutical companies, providers and health plans that are eager to build a robust patient engagement platform.
In late May, the company announced that insulin delivery device maker Valeritas was working with dLife to engage its patients. The new program called V-Go Life, is a comprehensive diabetes lifestyle management and support program designed to increase engagement of patients who use the company’s V-Go pump. dLife Healthcare Solutions also has been working with a large health insurer for several months, but Adam Kaufman, its general manager, declined to identify it because the health plan is not yet ready to publicize the relationship.
But even before the company approached b-to-b customers, executives decided a clinical trial was in order to prove that dLife’s method did boost patient engagement. The randomized, controlled trial of dLife’s type 2 diabetes intervention conducted by the Geisinger Health System found that participants showed a whopping 200 percent increase in knowledge verses the control group who did not receive the intervention. There was also a similar 200 percent increase in users testing themselves versus the control group.
Now, Kaufman and others are hoping for similar results when working with companies like Valeritas.For Valeritas, the content that its customers can access will be a mix of some of the original content that dLife has developed over the years for its dedicated online and TV audience, and some custom content that will complement the use of the vendor’s insulin delivery pump, Kaufman said.
The 12-week program will provide content that users can receive in the format or medium of their choice — for instance some may choose the material to be mailed to them, while others may prefer delivery to their mobile device or online on their personal computer. There are interactive quizzes, recipes, exercise tips and educational material too.
Kaufman said that dLife has the capability to do predictive analytics such that a user’s profile is based on past experience with knowing what kind of content has been successful in behavior change for a certain kind of individual.
For instance, if”we know that the individual in the program is receiving support from parents, we will feed them video that talk more about how you interact with a parent versus if we knew that they were receiving support from a spouse,” Kaufman explained.
After the initial 12-week intensive period where the goal is behavior change, users can also access new content that is added monthly. Kaufman added that as long as users are on the V-Go pump, they can use the V-Go Life service.
As dLife Healthcare Solutions begins to ramp up its business and attract more customers, Kaufman is acutely aware of the opportunity afforded by the Affordable Care Act and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that rebuffed its challenge. Healthcare reimbursement models are changing from fee-for-service to fee-for-value and health plans, providers all need to be connected to their members to support healthy behaviors. Manufacturers of healthcare products meanwhile have to show comparative effectiveness and for that they need to be aware of what therapy regimen the target patient population is engaging in and how robust their therapy adoption is, Kaufman said.
All this is happening, as “consumers are demanding more from their healthcare vendors, becoming savvier, and using more technology to manage their health. This new direction for dLife came out of an identified need as the healthcare industry continues to shift and evolve rapidly, and plans are challenged to engage members to close their gaps in care,” Kaufman noted.
[Photo Credit: dLife Healthcare Solutions]
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