In the past few weeks, I learnt about several projects, experiments, and successful implementation of tools and techniques to engage with patients to provide useful information and assist them to improve their health. We at SmartRx use the term “proactive healthcare” or Health Management – The class of solutions are often described using the words – remote monitoring, medical adherence and intervention and patient engagement. These solutions and learnings from their success / failures is quite relevant to SmartRx and our solution design.
There are quite a few solutions from past (say developed 10-15 yrs ago) to some latest ones that are being coded to work on the new iPads and rolling straight out of developers computers. I will discuss a few examples and some of my thoughts and finally conclude with critical aspects for this solution class.
Lets take the example of Health Hero Network launched in the 90’s and is now part of Bosch Healthcare. From what I can understand it has some success in certain pockets and not had a broad adoption even within the elders/veterans it was focused for. I am thinking the cost of the device and service which is highly custom hardware might be prohibitive. I reckon that the device/service appears complex and can be implemented in a simpler way using mobiles.
Another example I have read about is BeWell Technology which has solutions with real-time feedback, reminders and medical intervention. It appears that the solution would have to be pushed by Govt and healthcare foundations to improve general population health with chronic conditions.
A few more recent ones I reviewed were MedAdherance which I think is tying up with pharma companies to ensure adherence to medication which inturn helps the patient as well as pharma companies with more refills.
Here are some of my thoughts on critical aspects of making this solution class work better:
1. Simple solution that works through web and mobiles (remove complex hardware)
2. Tie these solutions with the doctor/hospital (don’t make it an island of its own)
3. Clarity on who the payer is (has to be free for patients; obviously payer has to have clear demonstrated value/benefit; this would also mean integration with EMR software)
4. Minimize effort and work involved for doctors (otherwise will face resistance)
5. Free of regulatory hurdles (the information exchanged is secure and adheres to guidelines)
I think with these design principles, its possible to improve these class of solutions to achieve wider adoption levels and eventually a bigger impact. Comments?