We’ve been an active observer of the population health & care management space the past two years, and have been surprised to find that most vendors’ platforms are missing a key relationship: that of the patient & caregiver. Matt Guldin of Chillmark Research also made this observation in his latest post-HIMSS debrief. The status quo in population health today is to pass the buck once patient risk & interventions are identified. It then becomes the burden of the provider to staff a team to call upon patients to communicate actions indicated by their analytics tools.
In cases where automated outreach does exist, it’s performed using low-tech mediums such as SMS, IVR or paper mailers. I believe that these low-tech mediums are not sufficient for accountable care. They are not secure channels, which leads to sanitized, low-utility messages. They are not convenient for the patient, which significantly reduces adherence. (Imagine if you had to use SMS every time you want to check your bank balance – I doubt you would do it very often). And perhaps most importantly, they are not easily measured.
Luckily, we’re now reaching saturation points in two key smart device trends. Smart devices are now reaching pervasive availability amongst consumers. In addition, the latest wave of smart devices have become increasingly convenient to use. Examples being fingerprint-unlock (security), and smart notifications that you can answer directly on your phone’s home screen or wrist (convenience). So while there will always be need for SMS & IVR in certain use cases, I believe the bulk of patient-provider communication would more effective if we leveraged the new era of technology available to consumers today.
Device Ownership Of Online Adults (Q3 2014)
So, let’s assume smart devices are here to stay – how can the healthcare industry leverage them best? I don’t feel everyone is better off building their own apps. They are difficult to build well, even harder to distribute, and will become a terrible solution for consumers at scale – am I expected to use 15 different apps for each of my 15 different providers? (Or 5 different apps for each of the 5 EMR vendors that store my records?)
We believe Patient IO is the first cross-platform solution for care plan communication to any patient, caregiver or device. We think we can solve last-mile communication between provider & patient once, and then allow any health system or vendor can leverage our platform with a simple API. Our vision is to enable the entire health IT industry to finally include the patient & caregiver – a relationship that is sorely needed as healthcare quickly moves to accountable business models.