There's an App for That: Tackling Patient Care with Technology

Health Tech | According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), care coordination can be defined as the "deliberate organization of patient care activities and sharing of information among all of the participants concerned with a patient's care to achieve safer and more effective care." It's becoming an increasingly important goal of hospitals and clinics under the new reimbursement models that prioritize outcomes over volume of services. Here, Joseph Mayer, MD, the founder and CEO of Cureatr, discusses the importance of care coordination and how his company is working to improve it.

How did you develop the idea for Cureatr?

Clinical, research, and entrepreneurial experience inspired me to start Cureatr several years ago. While earning a B.S. in biological science from Stanford University, an MD from Columbia University, and serving at healthcare and technology startups, I became interested in using mobile communications to help healthcare providers coordinate care across providers and settings. My passion grew when, as a resident, I delved into the challenges of care coordination through research after experiencing them first-hand, and became passionate about applying mobile and event notification technology to tackle them.

What is your background in medicine and technology?

I was trained as a physician at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and was a psychiatry resident at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. I've been involved for over a decade with informatics and healthcare IT, during which time I've developed a concentrated focus in healthcare IT throughout my education, clinical training, and startup experience. I was selected as a 2014 NYC Venture Fellow, an initiative by 92nd St Y and NYCEDC. For four years, prior to medical school, I lived in Amsterdam, where I founded Unwired Holdings, a developer of citywide alternative wireless broadband networks.

What exactly are the use cases for the platform?

We are contacted primarily by healthcare providers who are seeking improvements in care transitions, readmission prevention, and secure HIPAA-compliant messaging. Healthcare providers turning to Cureatr have included Mount Sinai, Albany Medical Center, DaVita Healthcare Partners, Village Health, and The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. A recent case study published on our work at Penn, for example, demonstrated significant improvements in clinical workflows, discharge processes, patient care, hospital stays, and patient and staff satisfaction. On average, our efficiencies saved physicians 90 minutes and nurses an hour each day.

Going forward, Cureatr is increasing its focus on notifying care providers and risk-bearing entities in real time when their patients experience clinical events such as hospital admits, discharges, and transfers. We feel strongly that pairing these Care Transition Notifications with secure messaging and workflow automation leads to better outcomes at the lowest cost to care. For example, we are looking to partner with beneficiaries of a new $8 billion program aimed at reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department use in New York State by 25% over five years.

Can you discuss any traction that Cureatr has achieved?

We collect usage data on a regular basis and have also observed first-hand that Cureatr is an integral part of our clients' workflow. Take our work with DaVita for example: our technology helps ensure that patients don't miss their dialysis appointments, an all-too-common occurrence that almost always leads to an ED visit. When we ask nurses about how they use Cureatr, they often describe in detail how it helped prevent unnecessary readmissions. As a clinician myself, I know how difficult and important these roles are. So when I hear something like, "If you take away Cureatr, I will cry," I know we are making a difference.

Do you have any cardiologists using the platform and, if so, can you share any of their experiences?

Cardiologists operate under some of the most intense, time-sensitive conditions imaginable, so any extra time we can buy them carries a great deal of value. We know they are utilizing Cureatr to communicate regarding consults from the ED and patient observation, as well as to relay messages to nurses and attending physicians. Most importantly, cardiologists use Cureatr for patient monitoring post–op in the Cardiac Unit and ICU. Cureatr benefits cardiologists much in the same way it does all providers; however, the time saved and efficiencies created resonate more given the highly specialized nature of their work and the value placed upon their time and efforts.

Interview conducted by Shiv Gaglani who is an MD/MBA candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard Business School. He writes about trends in medicine and technology and has had his work published in Medgadget, The Atlantic, and Emergency Physicians Monthly.

Keywords: CardioSource WorldNews, ACC Publications

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