Healthvana doesn’t want its app, a service aimed at delivering electronic test results direct to patients, to become known as the “HIV app.”
That is one of the things the app does — deliver HIV test results to a mobile device — but that’s not all it does now, and it’s far less than what the company has planned for the future.
Still the app works, and has been popular. Since launching its pilot app three months ago, Healthvana has achieved a 66 percent engagement rate.
There are a number of factors at play, but perhaps most important is that Healthvana CEO Ramin Bastani and his team decided to focus on just one use case when they launched their service. And they got it right.
That first use case is sexual health. In an app users can download from the iTunes store, Healthvana sends patients test results for HIV and a number of standard Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). The app complies with all patient privacy regulations (HIPPA) because users enter through a secure portal in order to get results.
Since Healthvana is integrated directly with the providers’ lab, patients get test results faster than ever. And although HIV positive results are not relayed through the platform, for the first time patients are being given positive test results for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis electronically.
“If you test positive for an STI, you’d normally get a phone message asking you to make an appointment to see your doctor. And in the meantime, you’re freaking out,” explains Bastani.
But all these infections are almost 100 percent curable, Bastani says. “With Healthvana, you get a friendly message saying, ‘Hey, you’ve tested positive for this infection. But don’t worry – it’s very likely curable,’ and then we link them directly to get the care they need.” It’s what he calls “making health information accessible and actionable.”
Healthvana also integrates directly with a provider’s electronic health record (EHR), providing a dashboard that identifies all patients who have picked up their results via Healthvana. Any patient who tests positive and doesn’t follow up is flagged in Healthvana’s system. In this way, providers are spending less admin time, and following up only with those patients with whom they need to.
(Healthvana will be participating in VentureBeat’s HealthBeat conference, which will be held in San Francisco October 27th and 28th.)
“We get a lot of attention for the patient engagement portion of what we’re doing because we look so consumer-centric,” explains Bastani. “But the tools we’re building for the providers to solve their problems are just as, if not more, meaningful.”
The system also keeps patients from falling through the cracks. Using a phone message to inform a patient they need to follow up on a positive test result is hardly fool proof, especially when practitioners often tell patients ‘no news is good news’. So a patient may not get the message, or may not want to get the message, and continues on in ignorance — with an infection that’s not getting treated.
Healthvana has received a lot of attention for its first foray into STIs, but by January 2015 the company will be expanding from sexual health into cervical cancer. Its app will be delivering results to women for Pap tests, another first for electronic notification.
The company is also experimenting internally with vaccination records with the goal of giving patients complete access to their history. There’s hardly a parent who wouldn’t like the idea of keeping track of their kids’ vaccinations, and being able to quickly find out the date of a kid’s last Tetanus shot after he steps on a rusty nail.
One of the reasons for Healthvana’s success is the inevitable consumerization of health care. “Our product looks more like a social application than a Windows 95 EHR system,” says Bastani. “Health care in the 21st century doesn’t look like health care; it looks like everything else you use on a daily basis.”
Healthvana has already been given one endorsement that’s not very easy to come by. Last Thursday on October 9th, Bastani was one of the invited guests to a Town Hall on Innovation organized by the White House.
In response to a question asked by Bastani, President Obama answered, “This is an area where there’s going to be a revolution. It’s coming. Sounds like you’re at the forefront of it.”
You can hear Ramin Bastani at HealthBeat coming October 27 – 28. Get the full agenda here for this and other sessions from the most inspiring leaders in health tech today.