Not everyone can live near their elderly family members, but they still want the peace of mind to know that they are okay. eCare21 is a free app that allows caregivers to track the vitals of their loved ones through at-home monitoring devices and self-reported information. But the platform is for so much more than just caregivers and patients—it has also been able to revolutionize physicians’ practices, hospitals, accountable care organizations (ACOs), and more—saving them time and money while improving patient outcomes. And even pharma companies can use it to help keep patients on medications. PM360 spoke with CEO/Founder Vadim Cherdak, PhD about changing home healthcare, improving preventive care, and what’s next for the company.
PM360: Why did you decide to start eCare21?
Vadim Cherdak: Based on my experience in founding and running a home healthcare agency, Affinity Care of NJ, I recognized a tremendous need in supporting communication/cooperation between family members and the care community, especially the need for technology designed for family caregiving at a time when families often live apart. Already, our mobile apps have been named “Best Caregiving Apps” three years in a row: In 2017 and 2018 by Caring.com and in 2019 by Right at Home.
Originally, your company was focused on streamlining care coordination and billing among healthcare providers, but in 2016 you decided to do more work in preventative care and made your app valuable to patients and caregivers as well. Why did you make that change?
Following new Medicare incentive programs for preventive care, we recognized a huge potential in healthcare prevention combined with personalized digital monitoring at home. Getting patients to consistently monitor their vitals is crucial for obtaining quality data. Our free, easy-to-use, Medicare-friendly iOS and Android apps integrate directly with FDA-cleared devices already on the market to collect blood pressure, blood glucose, weight, and SPO2 levels. Additionally, patients and caregivers can also enter self-reported information about medication compliance and disease symptoms.
Ultimately, the eCare21 platform enables remote patient monitoring of objective biometrics and other indicators of disease status as well as subjective and behavioral data, enabling timely interventions, reduced costs, and improved clinical outcomes. So eCare21 not only helps avert potentially adverse health events, but it also promotes optimized clinic resource utilization for providers and hospitals, ACOs, integrated delivery networks, pharma companies, and health insurance companies.
How can practices, hospitals, or larger networks use the platform to benefit their organizations?
Let me give you an example. A leading primary care medical clinic located in a highly populated urban setting struggled with managing patients with chronic conditions. The majority of patients had complex needs related to age and multiple diagnosis. The administrative burden the front office was experiencing from inbound patient and caregiver phone calls had reached a record high. Increased calls were causing many of the staff to become overworked and burnt out. To make matters worse, there weren’t clearly defined pathways of having real-time awareness of a patient’s status in between visits.
As the practice struggled to manage compliance, risk, and patient transitions while tracking staff time and billing, neither the patients nor the staff were seeing any benefits. As a result, the practice’s workflow efficiency suffered greatly, and overall financial performance was impacted.
The practice decided to incorporate eCare21’s chronic care management platform into their daily workflow. After just three hours of total training, staff were productively using eCare21 and productivity rapidly improved, resulting in a quick ROI. The data eCare21 collects is displayed on a simple and easy-to-navigate dashboard that helps staff proactively identify poorly trending patients or those who have crossed clinical thresholds. In a case study conducted by a third-party organization, use of the app lead to a 15% reduction of hospitalizations for underprivileged seniors 75+ with multiple co-morbidities.
And how can pharma companies benefit from your platform?
For pharma companies, we offer a digital companion for their drugs. We can combine the standard eCare21 functionality of support groups, remote patient monitoring, medication reminders, and medication management with a micro-course education platform for doctors, pharmacists, and patients to explain drug use, potential side effects, and a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, we can provide regular questionnaires to collect data on drug use and side effects and real-time communication with patients.
Are there any new offerings, services, or partnerships that you are working on?
We recently started engagement with a cardiology practice in Houston, TX and with a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Massachusetts. Managing chronic populations remotely and catching them before decompensation allows FQHCs to achieve reduced cost and complexity of patient visits, improved HCAHPS scores, improved outcomes, and increased revenues.
Also, eCare21 was recently selected by one of the largest technology companies to be part of its virtual care platform offering for the biggest healthcare companies in U.S. The official announcement will be in a couple of months, but right now we are working with their engineering team on a packaging of our software platform with their hardware and medical devices.
What other long-term plans do you have for the company?
We see a number of very interesting verticals where our technology can be successfully used to improve patient outcomes: Preventive care, senior services, behavior health, drug trials, etc. We are excited to be part of the new wave of digital health initiatives that will eventually change fee-for-service healthcare to value-based health.