Empower to Improve seeks to mitigate large hospital bills for uninsured and underinsured patients with chronic conditions that could be easily managed with better preventive care practices. By creating cohorts of patients with similar diseases, our system hopes to increase treatment plan adherence as well as reduce long term medical costs that are often impossible to pay for by lower income patients.
According to the National Health institute, of the $2.4 trillion that the United States spends on healthcare $55 billion of that was wasted on “Missed Prevention Opportunity”. In addition adherence to treatment plans are rather low for the target population of lower income patients; however, by creating a community, research has shown, rates of survival, for a given disease , increase dramatically.
Our system actively seeks to connect the investment of preventive care to the people that would benefit the most. The healthcare insurance companies as well as hospitals would also save large amounts of money by initially investing time and capital into this target patient population . The software application is based on an off-line process used by the Charlotte Regional Hospital system that one of the founding members worked on during a summer internship. We feel with this insider experience and knowledge of a similar program, we can implement improvements to the process with an increased reliance on mobile technology and away from nurses keeping track of everything on paper.
As the Affordable Care Act continues to enroll those who before could not afford health care, the need to transform our hospitals from a sickness treatment management system to a sickness prevention system becomes financially essential. It is calculated that 80% of healthcare expenditures are spent by 20% of the population. We feel the impact of enabling better preventive care will spread benefits throughout the healthcare system and eventually allow for lower premiums and better health outcomes.
Currently we split the challenges into two categories: technical and consumer. The technical challenges are rather straight forward and have been solved in previous open-sources projects and companies. Having both a mobile interface for patients and then a web interface for doctors creates two technical challenges. Chief among the website’s challenges will be to securely storing and retrieving limited data from the patient to comply with all HIPPA rules. We hope with the HANA database infrastructure a scalable solution will be easily implemented. On the mobile side, through a partnership with BlackBerry, we are facing the challenge of secure communication intra-cohort as well as with the doctor to keep adherence to a given treatment plan.
Our challenges faced on the consumer side are arise from technology adoption by two segments, the patient and the health care provider (hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies). For the patients, we want to reduce the friction between the user interface to make it simple and intuitive to track appointments and adherence to their doctor given treatment plan. From a healthcare provider, whether a doctor or administrator, the largest challenge will be to digest the data from the patients so hospital can track costs and savings as well as adherence to the doctor directed treatment plans.
We have already launched an initial web and mobile prototype of the system at Philly Codefest hosted by Drexel University on February 23. The project won an award and $750. Blackberry had already given money to incubate such projects and mobile integration with the website. We have already laid out a development plan for our first beta customers with target dates for culminating with a June 2014 initial system test. Our next milestone will be the release of our updated application at Startup Weekend: health care in Philadelphia.