The Problem: Seniors with poor health due to multiple chronic conditions
- One third of all seniors have 4 or more chronic diseases, and their biggest risk is developing complications that result in hospitalizations or worse.
- Primary healthcare practices needed an easy way to capture daily data (and to receive automated alerts for out of norm readings) from their patients to reduce hospitalizations and show meaningful use, resulting in better health for their patients, and higher medicare reimbursement rates.
- Specialists needed to have access to all the data to make informed health decisions, and to also receive alerts.
- Senior patients needed an easy to use system to log their data at the level of technology that they felt comfortable with.
- Caregivers, including home health aides, needed an easy way to log for their patients, and to see what other caregivers had also logged.
- Family members needed to be included so that they could be informed and help keep their loved ones healthier.
- It had to be intuitive and easy to use for all the roles, despite it's backend complexity.
- It required a solution that could be incorporated into existing EHRs and be HIPAA compliant.
- It had to make it easier for doctors to manage their medicare patients – and to receive medicare reimbursement for these services. And for home health aides to track all their patients easily.
- The product design had to have a cohesive look and feel, while meeting the needs of all the user roles.
The Solution: Creating a platform that is easy for patients and providers to be proactive
We, founder-product manager, 3 developers, and the designer (me), created an entire patient success system platform with 5 main and 2 back-end roles: patient, caregivers, family, primary care and specialists, office manager and backend admin. We listened and learned from many seniors, their family members, and the medical community. It needed it to be useful enough for doctors to incorporate into their busy practice, and give them data that would improve outcomes. And we needed to get seniors to log.
We decided that 4 apps (working across all platforms for iPhone/iPads and and web-based) were needed so each user role would have easy access, yet function as one unit, with the patient owning the data that they submit, so we designed and developed:
All apps were planned to be available as both web (mobile friendly) and iPhone/iPad apps, so that data could be logged or reviewed from anywhere. The data would reside on secure HIPAA-compliant servers, and then be incorporated into the healthcare provider(s) EHR.
We also designed an automated personalized phone logging system for seniors who didn't have access to a smart phone, tablet or computer, allowing for all of the quantitative data to be logged via touch tone phone, with the schedule of the calls being set up by medical practices. Everything was HIPAA compliant and secure, including the servers we used.
Many seniors showed an interest in logging via an iPad if we could provide the tablet and data plan, but most did not have the existing technology, or access to the internet. Logging via touch tone phones proved to be the most popular way to log. Even more importantly – they really liked that ALL of their doctors could see the same information, which made tracking their medications much easier, and meant that they didn't have to try to remember everything – their doctors had all their daily quantitative and qualitative data.
There was a strong interest for family members to keep track of their loved ones logging, especially for those living farther away from their parents. It gave them a peace of mind to be able to see what was being logged, and to be able to then follow up if they noticed changes. They also liked that they could see which medications and dosages their parents were taking. It gave them an easy way to stay informed.
Medical providers, many times in unconnected practices, could now stay on the same page with their patients medications and health data. They could now spend more time in their patient appointments discussing action plans based upon the data that could be visually seen at a glance on the HelpMEwell Patient Success System dashboard. And more importantly, with this early warning system, they could proactively take measures to hopefully keep those seniors healthier and out of the hospital.
* HelpMEwell did not find funding, and the team dispersed. The current site for helpmewell.com appears to be something entirely different, and inactive.