New York Digital Health Accelerator’s Sense Health Shows that the Best Medicine is – Texting



There’s nothing quite like two-way communications. It’s called a conversation and patients tend to respond to treatment much better when they can communicate with their doctors.

Sense Health unlocks the potential of text message health support through a platform where health professionals can quickly generate and customize text message based care plans for their patients. These plans are interactive for patients, creating a feedback loop that Sense Health completes for health providers by alerting them of patients who are not complying with or recovering from their support.

The company was just selected to be part of New York Digital Health Accelerator (NYDHA), which gives up to $100,000 in funding to companies developing digital health solutions for patients and providers.  The 5 month accelerator is run by the Partnership Fund for New York City and the New York eHealth Collaborative.

Sense Health founder and CEO Stan Berkow tells us about the product and the company’s plans to improve patient care.

Tell us about the decision to apply for the Digital Health Accelerator.

New York has been a critical early target market for Sense Health, given our presence in NYC and the expansive Medicaid population and infrastructure in the state. We had early relationships with many of the provider organizations in the Digital Health Accelerator, and wanted to use the program quite literally to ‘accelerate’ those relationships. We were also excited by the structure of the program and how we could use the relationships to not only direct business development, but to help inform our product roadmap.

Tell us about your product.

Sense Health’s patient engagement platform helps time-strapped providers deliver personalized support and improved outcomes. Our platform contains expert-created health content and proprietary algorithms that tailor support and facilitate ‘intelligent’ text message-based conversations between the provider and patient. We have demonstrated improved patient engagement and adherence in high-needs Medicaid populations.

How is it different?

We conducted a randomized control trial with Montefiore Medical Center last year, with the support of the Pilot Health Tech NYC Program. After a two month test period with 67 high-needs patients and 15 care managers, we found a significant improvement in a number of key patient engagement metrics, including: self-reported patient adherence to appointments (40% increase), medications (12% increase) and care plan goals (7% increase).

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

While we built our technology to deliver health support across conditions and patient types, we are focusing first on high-needs Medicaid patients with chronic conditions. This is an underserved population with a huge unmet need both considering the human element as well as the cost-burden. Half of all adults in the US have one or more chronic condition.

What is the business model?

Our business model is based on improving patient engagement and adherence to reduce medical costs. We are currently focused on partnering with provider and managed care organizations that support high-needs Medicaid patients.

Is it possible to personalize healthcare through the use of technology?

Our business is built on our belief that it is not only possible, but essential to personalize healthcare through the use of technology. The prevention and management of chronic health conditions requires behavior change, something that technology alone cannot provide. Sense Health is amongst those who realize that technology in health works best when there is a human touch behind the system and patients feel supported by their providers. Our product was built to blend the efficiencies that technology can provide with the human element that healthcare providers can deliver.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

Within six months, our goal is to expand our partnerships with large providers and managed care organizations based in NYC. Through these partnerships, we plan to take our outcomes data to the next level by capturing cost savings directly.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?

Esther Dyson. Outside of a career that speaks for itself, she’s currently doing some very cool work through HICCup that has an emphasis on impacting the health of your everyday American. It is inspiring to see such a high profile investor focus on reaching a wide range of communities.

What is your take on the current healthcare scene in New York today?

It’s an exciting time for healthcare in NYC. Programs like Pilot Health Tech NYC, an initiative of the NYCEDC, are absolutely critical to fostering the health tech community. Outside of these great programs, it’s evident that the large healthcare institutions in the city and state are making a huge effort to work with innovators to effect change. That might be the single most important factor that’s leading to a thriving health tech scene in New York.

Do you prefer the fireworks on the East side or the West side?

West side. If you have to ask why, you wouldn’t understand. It’s just, because.

About the author: AlleyWatch

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