At Wellframe, we have a strong belief that successful healthcare delivery is driven by engagement. Patients are uncertain about their health status, and the traditional, low-touch environment just isn’t sufficient for their needs. Our solution seeks to use existing human relationships to deliver the information patients need and to strengthen those relationships over time.
VISION/STORY – When we founded Wellframe, it was not with a particular product or business model in mind, but rather, it was a shared frustration around the lack of guidance and support offered to patients between formal interactions with the healthcare system that brought us together. Because of our various backgrounds, ranging from computer science to epidemiology and primary care medicine, we knew that this a space that was not effectively being addressed by the market in a meaningful way. If done properly, we knew we could build a solution that could have a very large impact on the way care was delivered and significantly improve patient outcomes.
A great Viewpoint article entitled “The Arc of Health Literacy” was published yesterday in JAMA. The article, written by Howard Koh and Rima Rudd from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, extols the importance of addressing health literacy at the clinician, institution, and system level:
The other day a friend asked me, “Do more engaged patients actually result in improved outcomes?” My answer to him? Well, it depends on how you define engagement.
Predictive analytics is a hot area of research, and is increasingly gaining traction in several industries. While nothing new to healthcare, what has changed is our ability to better measure, aggregate, and make sense of previously hard-to-obtain or non-existent behavioral, psychosocial, and biometric data. Combining these new data sets with existing data (claims and EMR) allows us to gain unprecedented insight into the interaction between external factors (the environment) and human signals. In particular, understanding a patient’s environment in addition to biological and clinical factors has the ability to change how we approach clinical medicine, population health, the healthcare system, epidemiology, and pharmaceuticals.
The gamification of everyday life, as lived on our smartphones, is near complete. The movement is no longer limited to just millenials and the Gen Z either, with over three quarters of the US population living increasingly on their smartphones. Whether it is through tracking our sleep patterns, swiping left and right for our love lives, learning a new language, or most recently, even trading on the stock market (thank you Robinhood!), there seems to be no aspect of life that cannot be improved upon by the addition of leaderboards, levels, points, badges, and competition.
Last week we made a big announcement regarding our newest partner, Vinfen. Vinfen is an extraordinary organization committed to helping adolescents and adults with psychiatric conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and behavioral health challenges to live full and healthy lives. Their programs incorporate the latest in science-based interventions tailored for young adults with health issues, and reflect an enduring person-centered holistic approach, which is what makes Vinfen’s programs so unique and successful.
We at Wellframe were reminded of this truism with the publication of this NYTimes article this week, which cited a recent British Medical Journal report questioning the efficacy and use of health apps for generally healthy people. The argument basically boiled down to this: while everyone agrees that there is no data to show that mHealth apps have caused overt harm, there is also little evidence to suggest that they cause any good. In fact, the article continued, there is the real possibility that apps designed to track vital signs, sleep levels, sex, food intake, exercise activity, and otherwise continuously monitor our day-to-day lives do little more than stoke unneeded anxiety among the “worried well.”