New York City-based startup CheckedUp is launching its patient engagement software suite in 50 partner ophthalmology clinics. The company was founded in January 2012 by Dr. Richard Awdeh, Head of Executive Medicine at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and CEO of health and biotech incubator Cirle.
"I'm an ophthalmic surgeon, so really the product came out of being a practicing doctor and seeing the pain points in clinics," Awdeh told MobiHealthNews. "The goal of the product is really to educate patients, but to do it in a doctor-gated way so that if patients are going to have surgery they know specifically what I want them to do as their surgeon ... and to engage those patients throughout that process, both in pre-operative education and post-operative compliance, in adherence to medication that they pick up to post-operative care. We're really focused on patient outcomes and optimizing outcomes following the surgery."
CheckedUp offers its software via an iPhone and iPad app or a web platform. Patients are given a special code when they have their first visit with a surgeon which takes them to a customized part of the app. From there they can both learn about their surgery and express preferences about the surgery, which are then sent to the doctor. Awdeh said this allows doctors to have more meaningful conversations with patients, especially important in a field like opthalmology, which has a very high volume of surgeries.
"If you look at busy ophthalmologists they may do between 20 to 30 surgeries a day," he said. "It's very different from especially like neurosurgery where the doctor might do two or three. There's less face time with each patient, but it's equally important that the face time is quality face time. That the patient's asking the right questions, instead of having a low level conversation of like, you know, 'what's a cataract?'"
The app also helps the patient keep track of their post-surgical instructions, monitors the patient post-surgery and gives them tools to stay adherent to their medications.
The 50 clinics rolling out the technology are paying customers, but they're paying a reduced rate for the software in exchange for helping fine tune the product and pointing out any pain points in the deployment. CheckedUp is also running a multi-site clinical trial with more than 300 patients and physicians to study the impact of its platform.
CheckedUp is starting out in ophthalmology because of the high volume of surgeries, including what Awdeh called the "silver tsunami" of aging baby boomers requiring cataract surgery. However, the company may adapt the software suite for other specialties.