Health Tech: Quantifying Care, An Interview with Michael Batista | Shiv Gaglani
CardioSource WorldNews | There are hundreds of companies vying to improve patient engagement and collaborative care given the evolving needs of today’s health care system. Quantified Care (QC) is a company that spun off from the “Smartphone Physical,” which this author helped create for TEDMED 2013. I had the opportunity to catch up with bioengineer and CEO of Quantified Care, Michael Batista, and learn more about how they’re aiming to make their mark.
Please describe the problem you’re trying to solve.
Out of all the time patients spend on their health, on average, about 80% of it takes place alone, outside the clinical system, without any direct support during what we call gaps in patient care. These gaps in care are particularly concerning for patients with chronic diseases. For patients with conditions such as congestive heart failure (CHF), COPD, and diabetes, missed warning signs can lead to significant, expensive medical repercussions. This challenge is only compounded by the growing undersupply of providers needed to manage an expanding patient population. The result is a need to both improve patient care and support outside the four walls of the traditional clinic while doing so in a way which efficiently leverages existing as well as previously underutilized clinical resources.
How does Quantified Care address the problem?
Our solution is an audio, text, mobile, email, and web-enabled software platform for remote patient monitoring, management, and engagement. Through tools like QC’s mobile app, patients complete daily check-ins where we ask questions about their symptoms, medications, and vitals based on a holistic view of how the patient has been doing over time. Leveraging the “Internet of Things” to reduce the burden on patients, our platform has the ability to integrate with any and all connected technologies and wearables. For example, a patient with CHF tracking his weight with a digital scale can simply sync his device with QC’s platform rather than manually entering his value each day. Based on the information collected, patients receive real-time updates, feedback, and content, such as videos, to help them stay on track and suggest new ways to manage their health.
On the clinical side of the platform, typically used by a nursing team within our client’s or a nurse panel provided by QC, all the data is organized and analyzed to stratify patients into high, medium, and low-risk categories based on standards of care. Alerts trigger the nursing team to reach out and support those patients who need care most, when they need it. Nurses can also proactively reach out to large groups of patients simultaneously to help course correct as needed. Between users, a secure communication layer ensures that patients achieve peace of mind in knowing that their clinical support team is only a click away.
While gaps in patient care are challenges, at QC we see them as opportunities to leverage the new, expanding world of digital health. Patients do not have to feel alone in managing their health. Through a combination of easy, non-intrusive touch points for patient engagement and proactive support from clinical teams using the patient’s preferred form of communication, we’re helping to change the paradigm of health care while improving the efficiency and efficacy of health care organizations in a data-driven way.
Who are some of your current clients and how are you helping them?
We currently work with both health care insurance payers and hospital systems. If anyone has been in health care long enough, they learn that nothing is a straightforward as it seems to be, whether it’s treating a common condition or aligning incentives. However, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has done its best to put payers and providers on the same side. Both are incentivized to focus on value and looking for solutions to meet those needs. This is where QC can play a role. Our solution enables underutilized clinical resources, like nurse case managers, home health workers or disease management to efficiently monitor patients remotely. We offer the opportunity to deploy solutions to a larger portion of your population for a longer time period, unlike current legacy solutions that focus on a discrete number of conditions over short time period.
One of our biggest efforts today is alongside Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), where we are working to implement our solution to tackle both congestive heart failure and hypertension. Planned as a solution to extend the capabilities of BCBSMA’s internal nursing teams while driving enhanced member engagement, our objectives include improvement in both patient health and cost of care. For CHF members, emergency department visits can be life-threatening, expensive medical scenarios. As a result of the ACA, penalties now exist around 30-day CHF readmissions, making it a clear opportunity for short-term cost savings. The hypertension opportunity, on the other hand, is around long-term cost avoidance since this medical condition can lead to more serious medical issues later in life if not controlled. Outside of BCBSMA, we are working with some new clients in our pipeline to tackle asthma, COPD, and myocardial infarction.
What trends in patient engagement and patient-generated health data do you see?
It’s a sea of change. We are looking at the first time that much of this kind of data has been collected let alone analyzed. Not only does this mean that payers and providers can receive patient data in real-time, but there is finally the possibility of personalized medicine. Combining data sources together such as patient-generated data, genetic data, electronic health record data, and consumer data can truly lead to personalized treatments never before thought possible. However, while we’re not trying to burst anyone’s bubble, this is only possible if patients are engaged in their own health. It’s a big bet and remains to be sufficiently validated, but building upon behavior modification techniques and human-centered design practices is a step in the right direction. Companies willing to take early bets on these technologies will at a minimum “learn towards the future” with a potential to see transformational change in their business.
What is the management team’s background in medical technology and innovation?
I earned my undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering (BME) from MIT and then matriculated in the BME PhD program at Johns Hopkins. It was at Johns Hopkins, through the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design, that I became involved in translating a number of early stage medical technologies from concept to market. I am also an editor for Medgadget, an online medical-tech blog. My colleague and COO, Thomas Anthony, previously worked at 3 tech startups, including the digital health company WellDoc. One of those startups went public and the most recent has raised more than $50 million.
Author Disclosure: Shiv Gaglani was a co-founder of Quantified Care and still has an equity position in the company.
Shiv Gaglani 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.
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