Inspiration for innovation is all around. Sometimes you just need to listen to your grandmother.

That’s how Adam Odessky from Sense.ly identified a better way to deliver and follow up on after-care instructions for patients. We think he’s on to something. The app is a Phase 1 award recipient of our Open App Challenge.

The limitations of after-care instructions on paper

Sometimes after we leave the doctor, we get a “to do” list – such as take medicine, do a series of exercises, or watch for symptoms. These after-care instructions are often critical to better health.

But it’s not so simple when you have a fluctuating medical condition, like Adam’s grandma.  Her clinicians sent her home with a piece of paper that didn’t address all the changes she experienced. She didn’t have an easy way to check in with her physician between appointments. At a loss for what to do next, she wasn’t always able to comply with the original after-care instructions.

Turns out Adam’s grandma is not alone. According to the World Health Organization, only one of every two patients with chronic illnesses follows treatment recommendations. Another study shows 75% of medication patients don’t adhere to directions, costing the healthcare industry $100 billion in readmissions and additional care for symptoms that just get worse.

As Adam listened to his grandmother, he had a light bulb moment. Why not use technology to communicate between appointments? Patients could have clearer instructions, and clinicians could have access to richer data to help make better care decisions.

How are you feeling today?

Sense.ly’s app – set for launch this summer – is available on a computer or mobile phone. An avatar checks in with patients on a regular basis and asks open-ended questions, such as “How are you feeling today?” The patient can either answer verbally, as they would when talking to their physicians, or press buttons on their mobile phones. (You can watch the video for examples.)

This input can go into the patients’ electronic health records (EHRs), where it is available to healthcare providers. The system can also integrate key health indicators like blood pressure, glucose level and weight. Depending on the use case, physicians can receive alerts for patients who need immediate attention.

Because it’s a more proactive approach, patients are more likely to follow after-care instructions. The app is showing promise in trials with patients in physical rehab and for people dealing with addiction.

As hospitals move to value-based care models, these apps help patients stay on track after they leave. Better compliance with after-care instructions will help reduce preventable readmissions and improve patient outcomes overall.

Opening the way for innovation

Healthcare information technology should be a team sport. If we make it easy for everyone to work together, we all win. And by “we,” I mean your family, my family, our physicians and our partners throughout the healthcare continuum. That’s why Allscripts is committed to Open.

With our set of Application Programing Interfaces (APIs), companies like Sense.ly have access to the tools they need to introduce their innovations without writing the entire EHR themselves. Because you never know when inspiration will strike.

 

Editor’s Note: Open App Spotlight will feature other Allscripts Open App Challenge Phase 1 recipients over the next several weeks. The challenge reflects Allscripts commitment to being Open to innovation, and why Open matters to the future of health care. To learn more read the Open App Challenge news release, or to see stories like these in person, join us in Chicago this August at Allscripts Client Experience (ACE13).

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About the author

Stanley Crane is Chief Innovation Officer for Allscripts. In his more than 30 years of healthcare and consumer-related software experience, he has led the development of award-winning software programs including electronic health record, electronic prescribing, web-based medication sales, online physician education, resource scheduling, financial systems, materials management, medical translation software and voice recognition dictation systems. Previous to his healthcare experience, Stanley was involved in Silicon Valley, where he held positions with many well-known software companies. As the General Manager of Lotus cc:Mail, he created the first remote mail products. He was also the Vice President of Engineering at WordStar International, and Director of Applications at Ashton-Tate, managing their Macintosh products as well as dBase IV. Before that, Stanley was a founder of two Internet startups – MaxMiles, an automated frequent flier mileage aggregator, for whom he built the first versions of the product; and Shopping@Home, a company that was acquired by Allscripts in 1999 to support medication sales.

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