For the month of November, the UC IT Blog is featuring articles about technology and health care at UC.
Posted by Yvonne Tevis, Chief of Staff, Information Technology Services, UCOP. There’s a great story out of UCLA Health about a doctor using technology and precision medicine to improve patient care and, building on success, launching a business.
The program was designed by Dr. Daniel Hommes, a UCLA professor of medicine and director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, and Dr. Eric Esrailian, co-chief of the UCLA School of Medicine Division of Digestive Diseases. It has significantly reduced hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and testing, while improving outcomes for over 1000 inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients.
How? By using molecular profiling and mathematical modeling to get precise, individualized information about patients and by using software to create a coordinated-care approach. “This is where technology marries medical research,” said Anita Manwani, CEO of DEAR health, the program’s spin out business venture.
DEAR health is a platform that brings together health care providers and patients to improve treatment, home care, and quality of life. The health care team can access all of the patient data in one place: profile, test results, treatment plans, symptoms, feedback, even participation in wellness activities. This enables doctors to make highly informed treatment decisions.
Patients actively participate in their disease management via an app. Importantly, they can interact with a member of their team 24/7, anytime they need it, providing information about symptoms and side effects and getting immediate feedback. The technology doesn’t replace in-person visits, but allows continuous follow-up and reduces unnecessary tests or doctor visits.
The program’s founder, Dr. Hommes said, “The lack of disease-specific solutions and meaningful health outcomes assessment, combined with wasteful interactions between patient and providers, prompted me to focus on a solution that would provide integrated scorecards for both. In general, it has allowed me to spend time on doing what I am good at as a doctor, instead of functioning as a medical biller.”
Manwani explained that DEAR health is unique because it’s a one-stop shop. Other platforms may offer ways to monitor fitness programs, access health records, or provide health information and solutions, but Manwani said only DEAR health offers all of this in one place.
One UCLA patient said, “…it has changed my life completely. The IBD team took the time to analyze my medical history and they created a specific program to help me get to remission. For the first time my quality of life and overall wellness was taken into account…”
What’s next for this new business and patented technology? DEAR health is working with insurance payers at UC to develop similar programs addressing health issues of growing importance: anxiety, depression, and lower back pain. It also is in negotiations with a large health provider in the Netherlands.
Technology that marries precision medicine with quality of life – this may be a revolution in health care.