How did the idea of launching healthcare companion app come to your mind?
The idea of launching the app occurred to me from my personal experience as a doctor.When treating patients, especially with chronic conditions, every doctor and clinician faces the challenge, that there is no continuity in treatment once the patient is out of the hospital or clinic. Once out of the clinic, patients need to actively take care of themselves as doctors simply cannot follow-up with every patient on a regular basis. And this, is where we have a critical gap in our healthcare model – the patient is out of the doctor’s care once they leave the hospital or clinic.
Let me give you an example of a patient of mine whose storyleft a lasting impression:My patient had a wound on his foot that was very difficult to treat. We discussed his options – a skin graft or, anamputation, since the wound seemed too severe for other treatments. There was a catch, however: He had to stop smoking or the skin graft would be futile,and he would need an amputation. As a labourer, the extreme option would affect his livelihood. We did, however, schedule a skin graft based on his assurance he will stop smoking completely. Unfortunately, he didn’t keep his promise and ended up needing an amputation.
My patient would have benefited from active support& management, and it was truly humbling to wonder how his outcome may have been different, had his relapse been avoided.This is where technology has a role.Health apps can be invaluable in actively managing and supporting the chronically ill, for example when it comes to improving the knowledge of patients or helping change their behavior – or in my patient’s case track his habit of smoking and alert the doctors when he started smoking again.
Who is the brainchild behind the launch of Healthcare Companion App?
Avegen’s Healthcare Companion App is the brainchild of Dr. NayanKalnad, Dr. Sumiti Saharan, Anne Reijns,Dr. Mithun James and Neeraj Apte. As a team comprising of doctors, an euroscientist, IT developers and business developers, we developed the app collaboratively from with our diverse experiences and skills.
Please tell us about your Healthcare companion app.
Our healthcare companion app helps patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes. It offers a way to collect relevant data that can be used to improve treatment protocols, provide timely care and nudge the individual towards health seeking behavior.
In addition, the companion app serves topical information in different forms with the individual. What does that mean? Our maternal healthcare app, for example, shares content based on the mother’s pregnancy status. What appointments and check-ups does she have to attend in the first trimester, what are certain supplements she should take, what food should she avoid?
When a woman becomes pregnant, there is a lot of information available but with a companion app, we contextualize the relevant information for specific time frames, so she doesn’t have to read, assimilate and act on it all at once.
What are the key features off the app?
Aside from the content and information, the app functions as a connection to the clinic. The mother-to- be can arrange all her appointments through the app. As a certain check-up is imminent, the app sends an alert and the user can arrange the appointment.
The app also serves as a tracking tool. Imagine a doctor who has several pregnant women in her care. The doctor would not be able to follow-up with every single one of them on a daily basis to see whether she is feeling well. An app can do that instead: by asking simple questions on a daily basis, the user’s answers give clinicians insights on whether the mother-to-be is feeling well or not. And if she does not feel well, the clinic can focus on checking up on her.
The app also supports clinicians with communicating post-consultation reports with their patients. It basically functions as a daily connection between the patient and the clinic.
What are the challenges you face?
One of the most critical challenge is that individuals have different requirements based on their condition, socio-economic status and health literacy. The app needs to be such that people with varying abilities can use it.
Another challenge is to effectively engage the individual around their health through a mobile application. How can one ensure that they actually use the app on a regular basis – for it to be effective, every individual needs to accept and use it of their own free will.
From the company perspective we continuously update the app to keep up with developments in technology and be able to generate sufficient revenue to constantly improve our platform.
Who is your target audience?
We hope to serve every patient who can benefit from high-quality out-of-hospital care and every clinician who want to provide the best possible care to patients even when they are not in the hospital or the clinic. With our app we offer a solution that connects doctors and their patients in and out of the hospital and clinic, making treatment more effective, and improving outcomes.
What are your expansion plans?
When building our app, we have started with maternal healthcare focusing on India. In the second step we are adapting it to different health conditions, including HIV. We are also launching the app in U.K. focusing on patients with HIV in the first instance and subsequently developing it for other health conditions including patients who are recovering from a Heart Attack. – The Pharma