Connected Caring

Illustration by : Jordan Taler

A little over a year ago, we were challenged to present an idea on how to launch a health tech device in an already cluttered and rapidly growing marketplace. This opportunity forced us to get under the hood and think differently about one of the most complex problems in healthcare today: compliance and adherence to medication.

While I’ve understood the challenges of trying to crack the compliance code, I recognize now that I understood it from a single-minded perspective, one from big pharma. I strived to ensure that patients stayed on track with their prescribed medication, hoping of course that I did my job well, the patient got their branded prescription filled, and the brand had major success in its market. In some cases, we even created a pill-plus program platform. These were behavior modification solutions that again attempted to crack the code of compliance. They did make a difference, but not enough of one. Attempting to market medicine to patients and their caregivers and drive daily engagement was the conundrum that we faced every day. How do we get patients to take their medication as prescribed? To stay on track and stay compliant? It required creating a compliance cycle (or loop) and sticking with it.

Compliance is complex

The challenge of compliance continues to be a global problem that is in need of solutions. Compounding the already complex issue of adherence is the ever-increasing complexity of dealing with co-morbidities. How do we continue to battle this directly and get patients not only to change their behavior, but to have it stay changed? Weight Watchers has been doing this successfully in real time around weight loss for decades. Their mission is to help people change their relationship with food for good, which began with a group of friends gathering weekly with the Weight Watcher’s founder, Jean Nidetch, to discuss how to lose weight. Today, the group of friends has grown to millions of people around the world who have joined Weight Watchers to lose weight and live healthier lives. In a sense, members of the Weight Watcher’s community are compliant with their daily food routine, which ultimately helps drive better, healthier outcomes.

From weight loss to health outcomes

Enter the healthcare market today and you’ll find that innovation is transforming the compliance conundrum. Health tech companies are inundating the market and marrying the science and art of healthcare with the engineering of user-centered design and technology in an attempt to transform behavior in all kinds of ways. (That said, it still requires humans to want to behave and act differently.) Health tech products and gadgets are taking the complex and simplifying it, making it more accessible for everyone, not to mention offering the ability to connect all of the various stakeholders with real-time data. They are creating products that live and behave in a consumer’s world in a way that is already intuitive to them, thanks to all of the innovation in technology. And this is revolutionizing the way we care for patients and, frankly, caregivers.

The future of health: connected care

One interesting health tech example is the startup company HAP Innovations. They are innovating around compliance with their product spencer™, a pill-dispensing device that was created to assist with adherence for patients taking multiple medications. By creating this new kind of connected care platform, HAP is helping keep patients on track with their daily health routines. It represents “the future of connected care” because it connects the patient, caregiver, and certified pharmacist with real-time data to ensure that the patient is compliant. Reflecting their mission, spencer™ delivers a unique circle of connected care — connecting a patient, their caregivers, and a certified pharmacist to simplify taking medications and dispense valuable insights and support to help people remain healthy and live independently. It transforms compliance from reminder based to intervention based. It has the potential to revolutionize the way patients build health routines and stay independent for longer. And, on a larger scale, it would not only improve patient outcomes, it could also impact the number of hospitalizations as well as the economic burden to the system.

Connected care is the future of care, and has the ability to meaningfully change forever our daily health behavior.

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