A group of more than 40 healthcare startups is converging on HIMSS14 for the Venture + Forum today and exhibiting and presenting at the Startup Showcase this week. One of the trends in healthcare that’s also a big theme at the conference this year is patient engagement and how to improve it. The diverse approaches health IT companies are taking to this issue reflect the complexities of the patient population and also say a lot about the challenges of maintaining patients’ interest levels, changing behavior and creating a tool that can easily fit physician workflows and is also easy for patients to use.
The companies that improve engagement will have the ear of pharmaceutical companies, providers and payers to cut the costs of poor adherence. Here are six of the most interesting companies tackling this challenge.
Biogaming uses gaming as a way to maintain patient interest in the long process of rehabilitation. It is designed to enhances traditional rehabilitation by motivating patients to adhere to their regimens and reach their rehabilitation goals. The platform gives therapists control of the patient’s rehab in real time and can generate medical reports tracking patients’ performance and rehabilitation status. Through the platform, patients’ rehabilitation regimens can be modified by status and progress. The game reinforces the therapist-patient relationship by authorizing the therapist to monitor his patient treatment program at all times.
Filament Labs developed an app to help people with chronic conditions make it easier to manage their health between doctor visits and for physicians to follow up with patients to ensure they have done certain tasks. A patient-facing dashboard offers a way for people to track progress and a physician-facing dashboard gives a big-picture perspective on the level of patient engagement.
Infield Health delivers discharge instructions on patients’ mobile phones. It helps patients prepare for medical procedures with a checklist that breaks down those procedures in a step-by-step list of instructions, and also what needs to be done to help the recovery process. It also offers video overviews from physicians to give a better idea of what to expect. Although several companies have developed variations of this technology, it’s interesting that all of this information gets delivered straight to the patient’s phone.
M3Information is a behavioral health program founded by a group of psychiatrists and physicians to help primary care physicians do patient assessments to identify any early indications of co-morbid illness, such as depression. It also helps them assess patients for signs of distress that aren’t linked to a particular illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and PTSD. Consumers can participate in a questionnaire for a self assessment and can choose to share the results with their physician. It provides a way for physicians and patients to track the patient’s progress.
Wellframe is about improving adherence through a checklist approach. One area it has focused on is cardiovascular rehab, a 12-week program designed to help people recovering from a heart attack which also has a relatively low adherence rate. Users receive a daily to-do list and reminders based on national standards for cardiac rehabilitation. Patients check off each time they complete a task, such as taking medication or taking a walk. Clinicians get a dashboard to monitor whether the patient is carrying out those tasks. Among the projects it is currently working on are monitoring patients with COPD after they’re discharged and Spanish-speaking dual eligibles with Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
@PointofCare uses a physician- and patient-facing platform and an app to help patients boost their health literacy. The physician-facing side can view patient care journals. It also has reference tools such as best practices for certain diseases and point-of-care tools such as a drug database. A level 7 continuity-of-care record includes patient information such as demographics, diagnosis, medications, allergies and the care plan.
There is yet another digital tool currently available. CUE YOU uses a medical team-facing platform, a patient-facing platform and an app to improve adherence by delivery of a schedule of automatic, real time reminders that can be enhanced by caregiver team members by the attachment of photos of specific pills, video attachments of an exercise being performed prior to discharge and audio files for social connection or for patients who cannot read. The medical team-facing platform permits caregivers to monitor adherence and edit the schedule easily, online.