It’s become a thing: service platforms and apps that help patients follow aftercare and wellness instructions while away from the healthcare system. Not taking care of themselves after a procedure is common among patients, and it’s costing health-care payers billions.
Sounds like a good pain point for a digital health startup to address, and many are.
One of them is San Francisco-based Self Health Network, which sells a software-as-service platform that healthcare providers can use to make sure patients are following their aftercare instructions after they leave the clinic or hospital.
“When I’ve left the hospital after a procedure I’ve been groggy, in some pain, and cranky,” says Self Health Network CEO Kevin Murphy. “And then you have a nurse there giving you this whole stack of papers with your discharge orders.”
So people lose their discharge orders, or forget them, or just don’t follow them. “Lots of people just don’t understand the instructions,” Murphy says. They don’t understand how much activity they should limit themselves to, or they’re confused about their meds, or they misunderstand how to take care of a wound.
When re-injure themselves or get sick agains, and they often do, that means lost time, money, and resources for the healthcare system.
So SHN’s product is being used by health care providers and payers to prevent patient from coming back into the system soon after they’ve left.
The product’s interface, which works both on the desktop and on mobile devices, looks like a social network on which various members of a coordinated care team can keep tabs on patients.
A health vault service provides a HIPAA-compliant online platform where clinicians can share and consumers can store certain types of patient record information. The platform can also accept data from consumer wellness devices like step trackers and connected scales, the company says.
SHN also hopes to sell its system to large employers, which would use it to promote and monitor the wellness activities of employees. This, the thinking goes, might inspire more wellness activity, less time away from work, and less costly healthcare interventions.
San Francisco-based Self Health Network has raised $5.6 million to further develop its patient communications platform, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The funds are a combination of equity and debt financing, from investors the company has declined to name.
Right now platform is being used by two healthcare providers and two employers, Murphy says, but again, no names.