by Varun Goyal
The problem we solve: Over 7 million medication errors occur in the U.S each year. These errors result in 1.5 million adverse drug events, 125 thousand deaths & an overall healthcare cost of an estimated $290 billion. These issues are particularly acute with patients who suffer from chronic conditions, with 50% of chronic condition patients not taking medication as prescribed. Many of these issues emanate from: poor health literacy among patients, entrenched communication barriers between clinicians & patients, & general confusion/ complexity of patient medication regimens. Additionally, there are over 40 million US adults who provide unpaid care to an adult care-recipient, most of whom suffer from a chronic condition. Caregivers are often times asked to perform medical/nursing tasks for their care-recipients. Most of these caregivers have received little to no training for the clinical tasks they perform. Many caregivers have reported lack of access to local, affordable clinical professionals & services.
About our solution: Leave the pen & paper and those clumsy reminder apps behind. Illuminate Health’s multidimensional patient, caregiver & clinician platform empowers end-users with automated medication safety & scheduling; communication and education tools to offload many of the taxing and confusing responsibilities and knowledge they currently must remember or simply have no access to. Illuminate Health combines the power of patient & clinician provided information with its internal clinical database to produce “Optimized Care Intelligence”. This intelligence and connectivity enables caregivers and patients to identify potential warning signs allowing for proactive and preventative treatment. We are a digital care assistant, your own Pharmacist in your pocket.Progress to date:
Initial market research, vision/roadmap validation with industry stakeholders occurred in the Summer– Fall 2017. V1.0 of the Illuminate Health App was built & tested based on initial vision in the beginning of the Summer of 2018. Initial Beta testing began in earnest July- August of 2018. With strong feedback from core target market of: mothers of children with chronic conditions & senior citizens. A Redesign based on user feedback and testing was completed in August of 2018. A “Letter of Intent” has been issued with a leading Indiana inpatient treatment center for a “Pilot” study centered on addiction recovery & the US Opioid epidemic. This study involves a collaboration with an affiliated Indiana research institution & an intensive outpatient treatment facility that is part of a large Indiana health system. The goal of this pilot is to demonstrate the overall capabilities of our technology in the hands of patients & clinicians as well as understand how we can improve our solution in the context of behavioral care & addiction.
Creator: Varun Goyal
Education: Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern
Bio: 18 years in healthcare and technology industries. MBA (Healthcare, Strategy, Marketing) Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, M.S Computer Science University of Chicago.
Title: Co-founder & CEO
Advanced Degree(s): MBA, Master of Computer Science
Clinical Informatics Pharmacist, Pharm.D
Biography: Doctor of Pharmacy from Butler University with over a decade of experience in hospital, long term care and retail pharmacy settings.
Title: Clinical Informatics Pharmacist
Advanced Degree(s): Pharm.D
Cognitive Science & Marketing Manager , Msc. Cognitive Science
Biography: Master’s degree in cognitive science, with a focus on the neurological basis of decision making & behavioral consequence.
Title: Cognitive Science & Marketing Manager
Advanced Degree(s): Msc. Cognitive Science
Advisor , PhD Health Economics
Biography: Health Economist with a research focus on Aging and Opioids Management. Currently Assistant Professor at Indiana University Purdue University.
Advanced Degree(s): PhD Health Economics
Advisor , MD
Biography: Physician executive and Family Medicine practitioner, specializing in clinical performance improvement and managed care; tenure includes leadership roles with Parkview Health, Vizient (VHA), Key Health Plan (now Anthem)
Advanced Degree(s): MD
We put the power & knowledge of clinical resources used by hospitals & pharmacies in the hands of patients in a user-friendly format. Consumers will receive automated schedules & safety checks to ensure safe medication self-administration & optimize medication effectiveness. Automated personalized medication regimens remove the confusion of how and when to take medications. Advanced safety checks clinically review drug dosage & interactions. Simplified drug information with visual language makes it easy for anyone to understand their medications. Communication & connectivity tools provide seamless care coordination opportunities for family, friends & clinicians. Additionally, our “Caregiver” platform enables remote care & HIPPA secure communication between caregivers & care-recipients safeguarding all patient health information from unwanted disclosure. Our clinical metrics offer patients & their care team robust data points to track patient progress & augment routine when necessary.
The Illuminate Health platform is a source of preventative care, medication therapy management, & a safety net for all healthcare stakeholders. We minimize wasteful healthcare spending associated with superfluous doctor visits & poor communication channels between healthcare providers & patients. We assist in medication reconciliation & proactively incorporate safety checks that address preventable health events like adverse drug events (ADEs) which constitute roughly 4.5 million Physician & ER visits each year. Our HIPAA compliant messaging allows greater communication opportunities for clinicians to provide patients with vital health information in decentralized settings. Our health tracking metrics empowers clinicians to watch the progression of their patient's health in real-time, improving diagnostic/clinical decision making & patient wellness.
Our solution enables providers to achieve a more complete view of patients' conditions and improve patient experience scores. With Illuminate Health, providers' productivity is gained at ease, with increasing reimbursement opportunities around remote patient monitoring and chronic care management.
Take for example a patient who suffers from diabetes, a chronic condition that requires daily monitoring & engagement from both patient & provider to ensure effective management & safe recovery. A patient begins their therapy with long-acting insulin at a low dose. Their compliance rates & glucose input are tracked & saved using the Illuminate Health (IH) app. The patient’s primary physician is also interfaced with the IH app & can see the patient’s history of compliance & glucoses, as well as any reported adverse drug events or side effects experienced. The physician can use these data points to augment patient dose & schedule. Subsequently our platform will automatically notify the patient of the dosing & scheduling change & the physician can send a HIPAA secure message to the patient with a detailed explanation of changes in therapy using our doctor portal, remotely. Any queries from the patient can be responded to by the practicing physician or one of the Illuminate Health pharmacists through our patient chat feature.
Illuminate Health’s hospital capabilities are most appropriately explained through the prism of transition of care, in particular the transition from inpatient to outpatient settings. Our platform will help hospitals cut cost through expediting the tranfer of patients from inpatient to outpatient settings all while improving patients' health conditions through better remote monitoring of real-time data and constant access to patients via HIPAA compliant messaging.
Our solution enables hospitals to achieve a more complete view of patients' conditions and improve patient experience scores. With Illuminate Health, hospitals' productivity is gained at ease, with increasing reimbursement opportunities around remote patient monitoring, chronic care management and medication therapy management.
Our initial point of contact with the patient is at discharge from an inpatient health care facility. After a pharmacist, nurse, or other staff has reconciled the discharge medications, those drugs can be uploaded to our app for the patient, so they leave the facility with an accurate, updated med list. This can also be a point of education for pharmacists, nurses, etc. to review with their patient prior to discharge. Any med changes can be visually highlighted within the app. After discharge, the tools for user-generated data & secure communication can be utilized to track patient progress & follow-up easily.
During admission to the facility, the app could serve as an up-to-date med list. Additionally, providers could see the patient's medication compliance, reported side effects, disease symptoms, & a list of outpatient providers and pharmacies. This user-generated data can help providers during diagnosis. For example, if a hypertensive patient's blood pressure is elevated, but their med compliance is poor, increasing the dose may not be warranted. During the discharge process, the admit list of meds can be used to help reconcile the discharge medications. This can especially helpful for medications that were formulary switches, which are more likely to cause duplicate therapy & can lead to unintentional overdoses. Using our app for discharge med reconciliation can also help ensure that hospital protocol meds, e.g. for stress ulcer prophylaxis, are not continued once the patient is discharged. These interventions are imperative as research has shown "patients who have a clear understanding of their post-hospital care instructions are 30% less likely to be readmitted or visit the ER." (https://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patient-safety-resources/resources/impptdis/index.html)
- For Big Pharma:
Illuminate Health app can accommodate all generic and brand name medications, whether solid or liquid and inhalers. Our education material, medication regimen creation and safety net checks ensure that patients understand when and how to take medications, along with potential side effects to expect. This assistance would increase compliance to therapies, refill rates and hence outcomes, inform big pharma about their medication experiences in the field for improvements.
- For Health Insurance companies and employers:
Given that our solution is designed to be a wellness tool, members/employees who are taking 5 meds or more on a daily basis, or are caregivers to family members can take some of the care coordination and medication management burden off to decrease stress and be more productive. This translates into lower cost of healthcare for the companies and patients. Medicare and Medicaid plans have requirements to offer such digital tools, improve medication adherence and hence our product will be helpful in that regard.
- Pharmacies and PBMs
Star ratings and patient engagement is big with these organizations as they look to compete in this dynamic environment. Everyone can benefit from overall and real-time data on patient medications list and health status, compliance and communication capabilities. Illuminate Health offers increased opportunities for pharmacies and PBMs to engage with their customers and build relationships like the traditional neighborhood pharmacy.
- For Senior Living facilities
We enable families to be in easier and up to date contact with their loved one who is staying at such a facility. Families can have access to health status, medication administration and more. The facilities can focus on taking care of their residents as compared to responding to calls, also increasing satisfaction from a competitive perspective.
Affiliation(s)Dr. Sumedha Gupta, assistant professor at Indiana University Purdue University is a Ph.D in Health Economics and sits on our advisory panel with Dr. Mark Hochstetler, a physician executive with decades of family practice experience. We are collaborating with various institutions including Health Informatics Department at University of Southern Indiana (USI), chaired by Dr. Gabriela Mustata Wilson, and discussing potential options at Northwestern University and others.
Key Milestones Achieved and PlannedAchieved milestones: Q3 2017 - Initial market research, vision & road map validation with industry stakeholders and consumers; Q2 2018 - Built and tested majority of product modules based on initial vision; Q3 2018 - Redesign based on user feedback and testing done. Our projected timeline includes: Q4 2018 – Kick off formal early adopter programs and clinical studies; Q2 2019 – Machine Learning implementation along with Telehealth; Q4 2019 - Complete Medication Shopping and Management.
Our Competitive AdvantagesThe Illuminate Health solution is based on established research and consumer interviews to address on unmet needs in one easy user app. We are aggregating a lot of disparate products on the market (medication management, care coordination, secure communication, clinical decision support, caregiver capabilities and more) for a unified user experience. The depth of functionality is many areas is of consequence too, whether it is the comprehensive safety checks we perform, doing the hard and confusing work of organizing medications into a daily schedule, or real-time automated notifications and communications, all so people who are sick can focus on getting better vs stressing over these tasks.
Barriers to EntryWe have filed one patent on our technology, which will be a barrier for the competitors to enter. Execution is tough and we are fortunate that we have a working product after; spending over 1.5 years in designing, building and testing our solution so it meets our expectations for safety, user experience, and functionality. We hope to inspire others in augmenting their offerings since our end goal is consumer wellness and better outcomes for all.
Funding, Partners and Alliances To DateThe start-up has been self-funded with $1M invested in research and development so far. We planed on external Series A round of funding in 2019.
I think this problem was so widespread because of viruses. If they read the article about the best antivirus for windows 10 they would know how to protect everything and there were not such a great number of medical mistakes!
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