Yosko, a hospital software startup that is now a veteran of three digital health accelerators, is gearing up to launch pilots with as many as five hospitals this year. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company just graduated from the Sprint-TechStars accelerator and is developing its software for two platforms -- the iPad and Google Glass.
The startup is led by wife-and-husband team CEO Dr. Andriana Nikolova, a Harvard Medical School alum, and co-founder Javier Otis, whose background is in IT. The team previously went through Healthbox and MassChallenge.
The iPad app is designed to be a comprehensive, single login app for doctors who work in hospital settings. As such, it includes EHR access, communication with other members of the care team, and care coordination to improve patient hand-offs. Nikolova says that patient handoffs are currently done mostly verbally and with paper, and that the errors introduced by this process contribute to the too-high number of deaths from preventable hospital errors -- the third largest killer in the United States, according to an oft-stated report in the Journal of Patient Safety.
"There’s a lot of tools that solve particular problems, but they create the problem of physicians having to log into multiple applications to do our work," she told MobiHealthNews. "And for me it’s important for efficiency and productivity to have a single log-in application."
The EHR features on the iPad app are currently integrated with Allscripts, owing to the company's open API and enthusiasm about working with startups, according to Nikolova. However, the relationship is not exclusive and Yosko hopes to integrate with other vendors eventually. Having all the various capabilities in one app -- EHR access, messaging, and care coordination -- allows a doctor to address a patient's needs through multiple channels.
"For example, say I’m holding the application and I just see from all the vital signs the app is displaying that the patient isn’t doing well with blood pressure," Nikolova said. "I can put an order in for blood pressure medication right from the application, and then I can send a quick instant message to a nurse and say 'Please give the patient this medication right now, I just put in an order.' So she knows, she doesn’t have to wait until it pops up on her computer screen, there is no delay in the care of this patient. And then on my task list, I can put a task that says 'Please check the BP of this patient every two hours, he’s not doing well.' So it pops up on the to-do list of every nurse working with this patient, so people know this is something that we have to be on top of and monitor. ... It just adds such richness, and we are finally helping medicine be played as a team sport again."
The hospitals Yosko is working with already have iPads deployed, Nikolova said, so the company has been able to work with them simply by providing the software. For the Google Glass version of the app, EHR integration is still a work in progress, and needs to be locked down before pilots can begin. But Nikolova says they have plans to work with some hospitals that already have Glass deployed in a pilot context. The Glass app will eventually have the same features as the iPad app, and be activated with voice commands, iBeacon technology, or QR codes. Nikolova said the company wanted to get ahead of the game on Glass because of the technology's potential.
"Glass is still an experimental technology," she said. "So it’s still not very well developed, but it has huge potential and we believe with the next iteration Google is going to make it a much better, more functional tool. The potential is really huge, because, to be able to have hands-free access to the patient, it’s simply priceless."