StrokeApp aims to deliver context-dependent patient information

By Jonah Comstock
05:12 am
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personalRNA new patient-facing educational app for stroke patients is due to start proof-of-concept testing in hospitals next month. Hermosa Beach, California-based personalRN is developing StrokeApp, a context-dependent app that will anticipate the particular questions stroke patients have based on their demographics, the kind of stroke they're suffering from, and whether they're receiving care in the emergency room, the intensive care unit, or inpatient rehab.

"When patients come in, regardless of their care setting, they basically have three questions," Chief Medical Officer Kourosh Parsapour told MobiHealthNews. "What happened (How'd I end up in the ER, how'd I end up getting a stroke)?; what's happening right now (What are you guys doing to me, why are you putting needles in my arm)?; and then what's going to happen (what's next, where am I going to after the ER or the ICU, will I be able to walk again, will I be able to talk again)? ... If you give me seven or eight data points on any patient with most diseases, I would probably be able to predict, relatively accurately where that patient should be in their continuum of care and what questions are going to be relevant to them."

PersonalRN plans to offer point-of-care patient education apps for a number of different diseases, but they are starting with stroke because they see it as having the most potential for reducing hospital readmissions by improving education. 

"One out of four patients gets readmitted after a stroke, and 90 percent of those get readmitted within the first 30 days," he said. "A second stroke happens because they're not being compliant with their blood pressure medication or they don't understand the importance of avoiding hypertension, so they come back sicker with a second stroke."

Parsapour said the app will emphasize a simplified user experience for doctors or nurses, who will be able to customize the content to their patients in less than 90 seconds by answering just seven questions. The app will deliver content to patients based on the three questions described above -- what happened, what's happening, and what's going to happen -- using the answers as opportunities to explain different facets of the disease and treatment. For instance, the patient might ask the app why doctors are taking their blood pressure so often. The app would answer that question by explaining what blood pressure is and why it's important in the treatment of a stroke.

The app aims to improve on both the paper handouts that are the current standard of care and other mobile and web-based patient education platforms. This is because the app takes into account the patient's level of education, and also eliminates information that might be irrelevant to them because it pertains to a different kind of stroke, for instance.

PersonalRN is in talks with several hospitals to launch proof-of-concept testing in the next month. The startup is also raising money from investors: It has currently raised about $75,000 raised so far from friends and family, mostly other doctors, nurses, and hospital information officers. The current version of the software sees the patient from admittance to the ICU to recovery and discharge, but Parsapour said the ultimate goal is for it to take the form of an iPad that patients can take home. Then it can then be used to facilitate medication compliance and rehabilitation as well. At that point it could potentially interface with Parsapour's other startup, 5plus Therapy, by delivering rehabilitation neurogames on the same platform.

"Anyone who gets an immediate diagnosis of a severe illness -- stroke, heart attack, cancer -- they basically hear 'You've been diagnosed with cancer. Blah blah blah,'" said Parsapour. "Because they're still processing that one chunk of information. That's why you need something like a health coach. This is a health coach in an app format that stays with the patient in their entire continuum of care, and then goes home with them."

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