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Can Mobile Technology Improve Patient Compliance And Health Outcomes?

I recently interviewed the CEO (Bill Reed) and SVP (Stuart Segal) of AllOne Health at the World Health Care Congress. Their enthusiasm for mobile technology rivals Better Health’s own Dr. Alan Dappen. Will mobile technology get people more engaged in healthy behaviors and assist with disease management? I hope so.

Dr. Val: What is “All One Health?”

Reed: All One Health provides a bundle of customized offerings to small employers – including insurance and health and wellness programs. We provide the same kinds of benefits that large insurers offer to large employers except we spend a lot of time analyzing the specific needs of small companies before initiating a health program for them. Some small companies have employees with diabetes-related challenges, and others might be more concerned about asthma. We also use predictive modeling (health risk assessments) to help the companies customize preventive health strategies for their employees.

Engagement and compliance are very important in bringing about substantive changes in healthcare – and good health can be incentivized by employers. All One Mobile is our means for connecting patients (or employees) with health coaches and nurses, which we believe is critical for affecting lifestyle changes.

Dr. Val: What does your “menu of services” look like from the employee’s perspective?

Reed: Each employee begins the relationship with a health risk assessment (HRA). That HRA recommends programs for the employee based on their risk factors, and prioritizes the top three things for them to work on. There are performance trackers linked to employer incentives for health improvements and the programs are available via the phone so that employees don’t have to be in front of their PC to interact with their health coaches. We have proactive outbound calling with an opt out feature. We believe that the mobile phone is critical for encouraging consistent participation in health programs. Our services center on phone-based reminders and personal relationships with coaches.

In the near future we’ll include blue tooth technology to have patients upload data from their home monitoring devices for their coaches to review. This is a more proactive approach to health management.

Dr. Val: And Stuart, tell me about the All One Mobile program for the Department of Defense (DOD).

Segal: The DOD was having difficulty with follow up care for military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Once they returned to their communities, it was very hard to reach them. All One Mobile won a contract with the army to provide constant messaging services to soldiers with TBI because they need regular reminders to keep their rehabilitation on track. Army case managers can push out questionnaires to soldiers and depending on how they answer, the case manager might be triggered to give them a call while they have the phone in their hand. So the phone-based communication tool is the primary tracking device for soldiers who return to the US with TBI.

Dr. Val: What are the educational qualifications of your coaches?

Reed: Registered nurses, dieticians, and psychologists.

Dr. Val: And what if the patient needs to see a doctor?

The coaches are trained to refer patients to their doctor when it appears that they need it. We can also track their prescription patterns and send the patients a “gaps in care” letter to remind them to fill their prescriptions. Non-compliance with medications is a major problem that All One Health can address.

Dr. Val: How would a doctor use All One Mobile?

Segal: We’re currently working on making EMRs accessible via phones – so that no matter where a physician is, he or she can review patient records and track their progress remotely.

Dr. Val: Or better yet, when one doctor is taking call for her group, she can have access to patient records so that when she’s called in the middle of the night, she’ll be fully informed about the patient problem list and understand the context of the concerns much better.

Segal: Yes, and All One Mobile can be used in the Emergency Department setting – so that when patients are discharged home, they receive 30 days of our service. The hospital can send them their lab results (that were drawn in the ER) and easily contact patients to bring them back in if necessary. In addition the patients can take photos of their wounds, for example, and have the physicians see how they’re progressing.

Dr. Val: Any closing thoughts?

Reed: This kind of health communication is incredibly convenient. Patients don’t need to carry around a smart card, a thumb drive, or a paper record. They’re already carrying around what they need – their own cell phone. And almost everyone in the US, regardless of economic class or age, has a phone.

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