Tech for Impact
At CoachMe/Verano Health, our nonprofit organization focused from the start on accessible technology and bringing tech to underserved patients. Since our founding in 2019, we learned that 2-way SMS is a powerful and simple tool to collect patient data from and support healthy behaviors for patients. We built a platform to provide data collection for every patient, even those without computer access or comfort with smartphones. In partnership with community clinics, health plans, and health systems, we put this tool into patients’ hands. We empowered providers and patients with readings between doctor visits to improve health outcomes.
As the next step for our organization, our blood glucose and blood pressure tracker technology will transition to CareMessage. CareMessage is an innovative tech nonprofit working in support of Million Hearts® 2022, a national initiative co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. According to the HHS, “Million Hearts® is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes within 5 years. It focuses on implementing a small set of evidence-based priorities and targets that can improve cardiovascular health for all.”
Almost one in two Americans (47%) have high blood pressure. Three out of four Americans with high blood pressure have not controlled the condition. And one in every seven health care dollars is spent on heart disease. According to the CDC, self-measured blood pressure improves outcomes when combined with patient counseling and education and is cost-effective when used as part of team-based care. Most patients do not receive evidence-based interventions of self-measured blood pressure and medication management. Self-measured blood pressure monitoring is a key component of this important initiative.
According to preliminary research we’ve conducted, one of the biggest barriers to self-monitoring is the set-up of new devices, which can take time and be overwhelming for patients with lower technology literacy. CoachMe/Verano Health’s 2-way SMS platform provides opt-in SMS-based blood pressure and glucose tracking with a HIPAA-compliant backend for secure storage. With our technology, patients enter their blood pressure directly onto their phone without any app to download, computer requirement, or email to login, all of which can be obstacles to adherence. Each week, patients receive an insights report with a summary of their past week and a graph of their outcomes over time. Seeing a visualization of their personalized blood glucose patterns has helped hundreds of families to monitor and improve their outcomes, and it has the potential to help millions. Providers have access to an easy-to-read graph and clinical values that can be imported into an electronic health record (EHR). This allows coaches, providers, and other medical staff an easy way to review data and to develop data-informed insights that improve communication and patient management.
“We’re excited to contribute our technology to CareMessage, an organization that has built an incredible network of clinics and is reaching patients across the country. Their team brings a forward-thinking approach to supporting patient self-monitoring and a decade of experience in the community health space,” says Karin Underwood, the founder of CoachMe Health.
“We look forward to leveraging the potential of this technology to directly improve health outcomes for underserved populations,” said Vineet Singal, CareMessage’s CEO and co-founder. “CoachMe Health has paved a vital path towards patients receiving better care based on self-measurement and remote monitoring of blood glucose and blood pressure, and we plan to continue this forward trajectory.”
Patients report that the simplicity of the tool is what makes it easy to use daily. “Every morning, I track my blood pressure and my blood sugar, and this makes it easy to remember to do it so I can show the values to my doctor. I like how friendly the tool is, and it helps me stay on top of my health,” says a Verano Health patient.
With deep gratitude for the supporters who helped us build this platform, we could not be more excited to support CareMessage and their work to enable more patients to benefit from self-measured blood pressure. We need organizations working together in the social impact space and we invite you to join us in supporting organizations like CareMessage, SIRUM, and others (see Fast Forward’s latest tech nonprofit cohort) bringing technology to underserved communities.