Mount Sinai taps Kaigo Health for app-based health coaching

By Jonah Comstock
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Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City has agreed to work with startup Kaigo Health to provide its patients with an app that combines personal health coaching, chronic disease management, and telehealth. Mount Sinai will roll out the technology for patients in its OB-GYN, maternal health, cancer and urology departments to begin with, with other parts of the hospital to follow.

Kaigo Health hires coaches who are healthcare professionals but not practicing doctors. Patients are connected to a coach through an app, and that coach will connect with them about things like medication adherence, diet, and exercise, as well as help them navigate their insurance and connect them to members of their care team — either by setting up appointments, or via HIPAA-safe texting or video communications.

“It’s a huge help for the patient but also hugely helpful for the doctor,” CEO Uzochukwu Chima told MobiHealthNews. “A primary care doctor that on a daily basis might be seeing six people a day, you’re now going to assign your patients to a Kaigo representative, a health coach that can follow up. So you don’t feel as though you only see them for five minutes and nothing’s going to happen. We also make it possible for all the doctors on our platform to communicate with each other.”

There’s also a doctor-finder aspect to the app that helps patients find specialists. As well as Mount Sinai patients having access to a Kaigo coach, some Mount Sinai physicians will join the platform and be available to Kaigo users.

The service is free to patients at the moment, with organizations paying on a per member per month basis. The company is planning to launch a direct-to-consumer version next month that will cost patients $19.99 per month. 

Chima says Mount Sinai is the first large provider system the company has worked with — prior to this they have worked with primary care doctors and with self-insured employers. The company is in talks with Johns Hopkins to be another large provider customer, as well as with Whole Foods on the employer side.

“In the past we’ve always stuck with private practice, because hospitals are part of the problem: They want to use their economies of scale to make money,” Chima said. “But Mount Sinai is really trying to do well by their patients, and that helped us warm up to working with larger institutions. Now we’re lining them up.”