AI Powered Health Assistant for Seniors: Interview with Ryan Howard, CEO of 100Plus
100Plus, a California medtech company, created a suite of remote patient monitoring technologies. These include a digital weight scale, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, and blood glucose monitor. The company recently launched Ava, an AI powered healthcare assistant that is specifically intended for senior patients who may not be tech savvy or as open to new technologies.
The system aims to personify staff at the local physician practice of the patient, which helps to build trust and rapport, with the aim of engaging patients within their own home. The ultimate goal is to increase patient compliance with monitoring and treatment to enhance healthcare outcomes.
The technology uses AI to personalize the interaction with each patient, and bases its engagements on a variety of factors, including a patient’s medical history, treatment plan, medication compliance, and incoming health data. The company reports that Ava has already facilitated 660,000 health alerts and three million device readings.
Medgadget had the opportunity to speak with Ryan Howard, CEO of 100Plus, about this technology.
Conn Hastings, Medgadget: Please give us an overview of the remote patient monitoring solution offered by 100Plus.
Ryan Howard, 100Plus: 100Plus offers a complete remote patient monitoring (RPM) solution for physicians and their patients living with chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Our Complimentary Concierge identifies patients eligible for an RPM program and shares with the practice for review and approval, performs patient consent and training, and ships devices directly to the patients ready to use. The devices we offer include blood pressure cuffs, blood glucose monitors, digital weight scales, emergency watches, digital thermometers, and pulse oximeters. Physicians can review streamed data from the devices to help inform clinical decisions and proactively engage patients to avoid episodic care.
Our solution has no upfront expense for physicians and because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and many private insurers reimburse RPM services, physicians can add revenue to their practice while at the same time introducing new technology that will benefit patient care and reduce costs. Physicians can earn approximately $720 per patient per year with RPM services. For the average primary care physician with 800 Medicare patients, this represents approximately hundreds of thousands in additional annual revenue, which is critical to small, independent physicians who are cash constrained.
Medgadget: How and why was Ava conceived?
Ryan Howard: Part of the challenge with RPM is proactively engaging patients to ensure compliance without creating additional work for physicians and their staff. Ava was developed to solve for that by utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning to act as a virtual medical assistant, reminding patients to use their RPM devices and encouraging positive patient behaviors.
Medgadget: Please give us an overview of the system and how it works.
Ryan Howard: Upon consent from a physician practice, Ava performs outreach on behalf of the practice to facilitate enrollment into an RPM program for eligible patients. After enrollment and training, Ava engages patients to drive specific health behaviors based on their personalized health data, including a patient’s medical history, demographics, adherence to medication and treatment plans.
Ava also coordinates physician referrals and patient appointment scheduling and reminders, helping to reduce physician staff workload even further. Our initial data has shown that the technology increases patient adherence, lowers patient attrition, and creates significant administrative time savings for physicians and their staff. We have also seen chronic, unmanaged patients become healthier on the platform through the lowering of blood pressure for hypertensive patients, for example. We will be releasing this data publicly soon.
Medgadget: How does Ava optimize interactions with seniors who may not be tech savvy or comfortable with new technologies?
Ryan Howard: When we developed Ava, we considered the fact that seniors are not only less tech savvy, but also less trusting of new technologies. Ava is remarkable because it leverages machine learning to personify the staff at a physician practice, providing a truly personal touchpoint. This is important because we know that these patients are more responsive to direct physician advice and the technology comes across as a member of the practice. Ava also works through SMS and doesn’t require an app or internet service.
Medgadget: How does Ava leverage machine learning to personalize interactions and monitor patients?
Ryan Howard: Ava reviews a patient’s demographics, medical history, and biotelemetry to personalize how it communicates to each individual person. Combined with past and predicted future health alerts, it can engage a patient to drive specific behaviors using this personalized health data. Ava’s machine learning enables patients to interact, ask questions, and receive tailored responses, while following strict security and adherence to patient privacy regulations.
Medgadget: How do you think remote patient monitoring will evolve in the future?
Ryan Howard: Most RPM solutions today present some hurdle for patients. For example, patients need to put on a blood pressure cuff, take a finger prick for A1C levels, or step on a weight scale. All of these are barriers to compliance carry the risk of decreasing RPM’s potential to improve outcomes and reduce costs.
We see RPM evolving with the introduction of more passive and less invasive monitoring devices. In fact, we anticipate more of these types of devices to gain FDA clearance in the coming year. An example is a watch that can measure blood pressure. These newer technologies will have significant potential to help increase patient compliance and provide a better overall experience.
Link: 100Plus homepage…