The product was designed to reduce hospital re-admissions; to function like a "care net" for patients leaving the hospital after cardiac surgery.
The product integrated tools for clinicians, but was envisioned for patients to use at home.
The product provided ongoing messaging, bi-weekly 3-way video teleconferencing appointments for patients with their doctors and care managers, as well as secure access to an electronic medical record.
We even used infographics for friendly display of progress/risk charts to patients and providers.
There was e-prescribing, but not just for medication. Learning and physical activity was prescribed as well, with the goal of promoting the patient's mental and physical healing. We even suggested a social network, a way to buddy up patients with walking partners.
On the behavioral side, we created a custom, lean content set designed for distribution to the patient via e-mail over a six-week period, the time when hospital readmission rates were the highest (most costly, and deadliest too).
The content was created to meet literacy levels anticipated in the community, and all manner of engagement was embedded into the program. In addition to static articles, we created quizzes, audio and videos inspired by Prochaska's transtheoretical model of change.
The product packaged up game theory into incentives for patients too. I believe one of the prizes was a pair of Nike walking shoes ...
This was 2000, not 2012. There was no broadband, few mobile phones; data was not liberated, and there were few incentives aimed at igniting consumer demand for participatory medicines. The word "start-up" had hardly made it into the vernacular.
The prototype received a very positive reception, though many thought we were crazy ... The lead physician on the team appeared on local evening news, a big deal at the time. ... I believed we were even cited as "Best of Show" and singled out by a VC company fishing for good ideas at the conference.
The product in its entirety did not scale, though certain features were pulled out and developed further.
This trip down memory lane reminds me that the standout features of all tech-health products are their emotional features, Tracy Kidder's "Soul of the New Machine" so to speak. So at HIMSS 2012 what's so cool to me is that Biz Stone is speaking, and Regina Holliday is painting, and e-Patient Dave is electrifying listeners, and Jane Sarsohn-Kahn is guiding and Fred Trotter is gamifying ... what this means is that the soul of patient engagement has become as ALIVE as the financial market surrounding it. The metabolism of the space is rising!
So, here's to change and to visionaries old and new. Here's to prototyping and ongoing dialogs about empowerment and seeking ways to liberate dependencies on outdated business models.
Here's to art and science, to conversation and caring. And, above all else, here's to the persistence of vision that technology and tools can be put to good use creating compassionate solutions to ease human suffering.