Through Epharmix, which offers condition-specific communication tools that allow care teams to remotely monitor patients, the health system can better connect with patients outside the hospital.
Peoria, Illinois-based OSF HealthCare is utilizing the technology from Epharmix, a digital health startup headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. The company offers condition-specific communication tools that allow care teams to remotely monitor patients.
In simplest terms, Epharmix uses text messages and phone calls “to send patients the right question for their disease state at the right time,” CEO Blake Marggraff explained in a phone interview. When users reply with the necessary information, providers are able to see the status of their patients and receive alerts if something goes wrong. The ultimate goals include reducing avoidable readmissions, improving patient engagement and decreasing provider workload.
The St. Louis company and OSF HealthCare began working together in 2017, Marggraff said, noting that they started with a focus on patients with heart failure and diabetes.
From OSF’s perspective, Epharmix’s technology presented a way to engage with patients outside the four walls of the hospital.
“We were interested in them due to our ongoing need to connect with our patients outside of office visits and be able to understand what’s happening with their health and particular diagnoses in between those visits,” OSF director of innovation partnerships Rob Jennetten said in a phone interview.
OSF piloted Epharmix on approximately 300 patients in Ottawa, Illinois. The health system saw a 70 percent enrollment rate among participants, and 78 percent of patients remained engaged with the tool. OSF is now working to deploy the technology to every home care patient within the organization, which amounts to about 3,000 individuals.
The road to implementation has not been without difficulties, however. Jennetten mentioned that there are challenges in getting patients to enroll in the Epharmix program. “[B]ut once they enroll, they are quite engaged,” he said.
In addition to OSF, Epharmix works with other entities like SLUCare Physician Group, BJC HealthCare and Provident, a mental healthcare organization. Marggraff said Epharmix is expanding across the country to organizations in Washington, D.C. and Denver as well.
Date: December 31, 2018