Making Health Care Affordable

08/22/2016 01:51 pm ET

With life expectancy in developed countries close to eighty years and the growing senior population, rising health care costs have become a critical issue for many families as well as for national economies.

Several studies discovered that Americans name healthcare expenses as their number one concern. With growing deductibles and coinsurance costs, more and more people are trying to avoid visiting doctors’ offices. In many cases, they prefer gambling with their health rather than asking for help they can’t afford.

Fortunately, not everyone is pessimistic about the future of health care. These entrepreneurs believe that they can change the situation by employing the power of technological innovations.

Neofect – Restoring Hope for Stroke Survivors

Neofect is an international health tech company behind the Rapael Smart Glove system – a biofeedback wearable device and artificial intelligence software for post-stroke therapy.

The main reasons why the majority of stroke survivors drops off from rehabilitation program are the costs involved and lack of motivation because of a slow progress.

Rapael brings gamification into the rehab regimen by creating computer based training tasks for wrist, hand and fingers. The glove-like device employs multiple sensors to capture user’s movement data and transmit it via Bluetooth. Physicians can design custom programs by combining specific games. The software automatically adjusts difficulty level to keep patients challenged and motivated.

Recent studies have proven that Rapael and similar systems increase the effectiveness of therapy and speed up the recovery process. Rapael has been used in a number of hospitals since 2014.

This summer, the company has introduced a consumer version of the Smart Glove. The new product allows stroke victims to train at their own pace without the need to visit a doctor’s office. While an average cost of post-stroke therapy reaches over $17,000, Rapael is available for a monthly rent at $99. Now, stroke victims can regain their hand mobility faster and at a cost they can afford.

MedPilot - Bringing a Data-Driven Approach to Patient Engagement

Annually, seventy five million Americans report to be struggling to pay their medical bills. Conversely, healthcare providers are losing billions of dollars each year on uncompensated care. There is a growing frustration over the issue of the medical billing system, which is too complicated for an average person to understand. More and more people skip routine doctor’s visits because they are more terrified by unpredictable medical invoices than by the danger of losing their health.

New York based MedPilot has come up with a solution to this painful problem. Their product, launched earlier this year, helps educate patients about their payment options, insurance benefits, improves engagement and customer satisfaction.

In addition, the platform is designed to make billings and collections departments’ operations more productive. The software uses data science and behavioral targeting to personalize patient  communications and resolve outstanding balances.

“MedPilot has completely enhanced our patient’s financial experience, boosting total collections, as well as my billing team’s efficiency.” shares his experience with MedPilot Dr. Thomas Brown, the owner of Kathy’s Urgent Care.

Glytec – Making Diabetes More Manageable

Being sick in America is more expensive than in almost every other country in the world. Especially, if you have a life threatening disease which requires constant medication and doctor’s attention. Glytec, a Massachusetts based clinical information technology company, has made it their mission to help those struggling with diabetes to better self-manage their insulin dosing.

Five million people worldwide died from diabetes in 2015 and the problem is expected to grow. By 2040, ten percent of adults are predicted to be affected by the disease.

Glytec’s Glucommander, an automated insulin dosing software, uses the patient’s information to calculate a personalized dose for every person. Physicians can remotely monitor and administer the program. The software analyzes glycemic data, enabling early identification of problems, effective intervention, and ongoing optimization of the regimen.

After it has been used by a number of hospitals and has proven its effectiveness, this year,  Glucommander was introduced for at-home use. Recent studies have shown that it offers significant savings both for patients and hospitals by reducing emergency hospitalizations and unnecessary insulin intake. According to the company’s representative, a patient can save $3,000 annually on decreased insulin costs alone.

Clarius – Delivering Ultrasound to Points of Care

Recent reports have identified a huge issue of medical mistakes in patient care. Many physicians and paramedics have to make decisions fast, without having sufficient information and equipment.

Clarius, a team of healthcare innovators from Canada, is working on solving this problem by equipping medical professionals with a a handheld wireless ultrasound scanner that uses your Android or iOS device as a display.

Clarius weighs approximately 1lb, does not require a WiFi network, and  costs a fraction of a traditional ultrasound device. These features make it affordable and easy to use for physicians who are not sonographers, thus greatly expanding ultrasound use and potentially improving the quality of care through more accurate diagnoses. The use cases include emergency medicine, critical care, labor and delivery, obstetrics, sports medicine; it’s also useful to guide procedures by anesthesiologists and pain management specialists. The Clarius team believes that their device will also deliver high quality health care to rural communities and people in developing countries.

The company is currently working on regulatory clearance and hoping to launch the product later this year.

Conclusion

We live in an exciting time of technological innovations. They affect every industry and country. Unfortunately, those who would benefit from them the most are often the last ones to get access to new technologies because of the costs associated. The companies above, as well as many others, are working on bringing the future closer and making it available to everyone.

 

 

 

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