HAMILTON, N.J. – Researchers from the Center for Health Care Strategies found that while the digital health market is flush with tools and growing every day, few are designed to meet the needs of low-income people with complex medical issues, like chronic and multiple conditions.
To address this market gap, CHCS, with support from Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, designed three national challenges calling for entrepreneurs to come up with solutions. The most recent wrapped up in March.
“There is so much happening in digital health right now,” said Rebecca Sax, program associate at CHCS, a nonprofit policy center that works with state and federal agencies, health plans, providers and consumer groups to develop innovative programs to better serve people with complex and high-cost health care needs. “There’s an opportunity to benefit the high-need population who have the most to gain.”
Orbita Healthcare was the winner of the recent “Digital Health for Complex Populations” challenge, which invited digital health companies to partner with Massachusetts-based Commonwealth Care Alliance to address challenges faced by the target population. As part of a pilot project expected to launch in July, CCA members will use Amazon’s voice-activated Echo to access Orbita’s wireless integrated health platform to schedule, coordinate and track their services.
Previously, in 2015, the “Super-Utilizer Health Innovation Challenge” called on digital entrepreneurs and developers to design health technology to improve care and outcomes for the target population. AdhereTech’s smart pill bottle, which uses wireless sensor technology to guide improved medication adherence, was the winner of this challenge.
CHCS is currently working on focus of its third challenge, which could be announced later this year.
Sax said CHCS is in a unique position to bridge the gap between technology/innovation and safety net populations.
“This is the beginning of a journey for us,” she said. “Digital health can help these populations in a variety of ways and we’re in a wonderful position to facilitate that.”