Evidation Health teams with Ochsner to study digital health efficacy

By Jonah Comstock
Ochsner Health System's O Bar Ochsner Health System's O Bar

Evidation Health, a company launched by GE Ventures and Stanford Health, which works with various companies working in healthcare to develop a body of robust clinical evidence for digital health interventions, has announced a partnership with Ochsner Health System.

Ochsner Health, based in New Orleans, was one of the first hospitals to work with Apple's HealthKit and is known for creating a genius bar-style health app engagement center called the O Bar. Ochsner also has an innovation lab and accelerator called innovationOchsner (iO), focusing on developing "entirely new ways for healthcare providers to dramatically improve the quality of care by managing patient conditions more effectively and efficiently and for patients to be empowered to take an active role in monitoring, maintaining and enhancing their own health."

Evidation Health will work with Ochsner on digital health interventions the health system is already testing as well as new efforts, according to Amy Belt Raimundo, chief business officer at Evidation.

"What we will be doing together is working on the studies of digital health solutions, both externally generated and internally generated," she told MobiHealthNews. "To understand what matters, what has an impact, what can be implemented broadly. The kind of robust evidence that is traditional within healthcare, but that has been missing in a lot of the dialogue to date around digital health. Because there’s a lot of promise with a lot of solutions and the ability to collect data directly from patients, but you need to structure it in such a way that you can demonstrate that it’s meaningful."

Evidation works with payers and pharma companies as well as healthcare systems, and also works with vendors of digital health solutions. Some of those partners pay them to develop an evidence base for their solutions. They also receive income from pharma and payer stakeholders who are interested in learning about the impact of patient behavior on outcomes and cost of care.

Ochsner and Stanford provide the company with large patient populations in a variety of conditions, demographics, and locations, to run studies on in order to build up clinical evidence that is robust, but also generalizable.

"Our focus with Ochsner is to combine their expertise and their clinical knowledge, and the fact that they’ve been on the forefront of adopting and testing these digital solutions, and to pair it with our ability to provide technology infrastructure and data science on the consumer side, and marry that with the health outcomes side, to really generate that kind of evidence for external parties and internal parties," Raimundo said.

Evidation, Ochsner and Stanford will disseminate the data they collect by publishing it in peer-reviewed journals, something the company has already begun to do with its work with Stanford and Humana. Having that data out there will help payers and providers from feeling like they have to re-invent the wheel to test an intervention that's already been successfully implemented elsewhere.

"One of the outstanding challenges for healthcare purchasers is that there’s a variety of solutions, but you don’t know which one to implement. And there’s a significant cost typically to implementation, and if you don’t have evidence that something has a certain impact, you can’t justify deploying resources to implement it," Raimundo said.

Raimundo said not to expect a whole lot of announcements like this from Evidation. While it's important to have a diverse group of patients, their strategy for choosing provider partners is conservative.

"From a provider partnership standpoint, we are being highly selective with who we work with because we want to go deep within those groups so we can set up really efficient systems with them," she said. "Going everywhere and having surface-level arrangements really doesn’t accomplish the goal of enabling these kinds of analyses and studies to be done efficiently. We are looking at what I would classify as a handful of partners that we’ll work with deeply and I’m very excited about Stanford and Ochsner because they really have put up the resources on their end in addition to ours. They're really committed to this."