Blog

August 11, 2015

Asthma Management Support for Families

Leading nonprofit patient education organization Allergy & Asthma Network announces the launch of a unique asthma management tool: the free Asthma Storylines app. Powered by Health Storylines™, this is a self-care tool that allows users to track symptoms and create an accurate record of asthma that can be easily shared with the patient's healthcare team.

"Asthma is a variable disease, with symptoms that may seem random," says Tonya Winders, Allergy Asthma Network President and CEO. "With understanding and a watchful eye, however, patients and families can see the pattern of their symptoms and learn to prevent and treat them before they get out of control. The Asthma Storylines app offers families a way to build and see the story of their child's health and work with their healthcare team to develop a personalized Asthma Action Plan of prevention and treatment."


May 5, 2015

Self Care Catalysts Selected to Present at Cavendish Global Health Impact Forum


Forum uniquely brings together leading family offices and their foundations seeking impact investment, grant-giving, and philanthropy opportunities within health and life sciences

Toronto ON, May 1, 2015 — Self Care Catalysts, an emerging health solutions provider powered by patient intelligence and analytics announced today it has been selected to present at the Cavendish Global Health Impact Forum taking place May 10th to May 14th in La Jolla, California. 


The purpose of the Forum is to help family offices and foundations develop and implement their individual pro-social impact investing, grant-giving, and philanthropy programs within health and the life sciences.  To accomplish this mission, the Forum showcases presentations and panel discussions by leading research institutions, accomplished healthcare delivery professionals, health-policy experts and private-sector companies engaged in developing innovations with the potential for transformational impact on disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.  A unique gathering of leading family offices, Cavendish Impact Forums are hosted by leading institutions around the world and take place three times each year.  The next Forum is being co-hosted by the community of La Jolla, California including The University of California San Diego, The J. Craig Venter Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, and The Institute of the Americas.

Michael Moffat, Cavendish co-founder and Chief Executive Officer explains, “The theme of our La Jolla, California Forum is a ‘Celebration of Philanthropy, Impact Investing and Innovation that is Changing the World.’  With the help of our expert advisors, we conduct a global search of research institutions and private-sector companies in order to identify organizations that meet the required standard of excellence. Self Care Catalysts’ technology advancements in the field of patient self-care through patient intelligence and informatics will help the entire healthcare industry better its understanding chronic disease, advance patient engagement strategies, and improve health outcomes.

“We are honored to be selected to present at this unique event, and to be recognized for our advancements in the field of patient informatics and intelligence,” said Grace Soyao, founder and CEO, Self Care Catalysts. “We very much look forward to the opportunity to interact with many of world’s most accomplished scientists, thought-leaders and generous philanthropic individuals and families who are all dedicated to the common cause of improving the health and lives of people around the world.”

Cavendish Global consists of leading family offices and foundations from around the world with combined assets of over $190 billion who share a passion for pro-social endeavors within health and the life sciences. The Cavendish Global Health Impact Forum provides family offices with a discrete, peer-to-peer knowledge expansion and relationship building environment, combined with the information and educational resources required by foundations actively seeking to accelerate technological innovation and health access through sustainable philanthropy, grant-making and impact investing.  The Forum is also an opportunity for family offices to champion and share information on projects and organizations, which they are passionate about with other family offices from around the world.

About Self Care Catalysts Self Care Catalysts is a patient solutions, intelligence and analytics company that enables healthcare innovation. We are committed to advocating for patients and consumers when it comes to healthcare decisions. Our belief is that when patients are informed, respected, and engaged, they make better choices. Better choices mean better health outcomes. Our mission is to build innovative, patient-centered, and technology-driven self-care solutions that complement medical modalities that will enable patients to continue managing their care outside of the clinical setting, with or without the support of healthcare professionals.  For more information visit us on the web at www.selfcarecatalysts.com

About Cavendish Global Cavendish Global provides family offices and their foundations with a discrete, peer-to-peer knowledge expansion and relationship building environment, combined with the innovative resources required to help develop and implement their individual pro-social impact investment and philanthropy programs within health and the life sciences. Cavendish Global provides family offices with a number of innovative resources, which includes Cavendish Impact Forums.  A unique gathering of leading family offices, Cavendish Impact Forums take place three times each year; the next Forum is being co-hosted at leading research institutions of the community of La Jolla, California including The University of California San Diego, The J. Craig Venter Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, and The Institute of the Americas. For more information: http://cavendishglobal.com

Alex Charlton
President, Cavendish Global
alex.charlton@cavendishglobal.com
Tel: +1-917-576-1435

Ellyn Winters-Robinson
Ignition Inc. (PR for Self Care Catalysts)
ellyn@ignition.ca
Tel: +519-574-2196


April 4, 2015

Innovations for Adherence - Using technology to combat non-adherence

How do we define non-adherence in today's digital age? What are the variables associated with the idea of non-adherence? This week's patient intelligence and insights newsletter focuses on how companies are tackling the continuous problem of non-adherence. From skydivers turned inventors to smart pill dispensers, we explore the value of the technologies that don't solely require an input from the individual taking the medication, but how technologies are creating a community of transparency for the patient, caregiver and clinician. 

Patient Analytics in the News

Cystic Fibrosis is a debilitating and fatal ailment that affects about 30,000 people in the US, 50% of them being children. Adherence in usage of a nebulizer is especially critical for children with cystic fibrosis. Read how a skydiver and father to a child with cystic fibrosis turned into an inventor and developed a technology that gamifies and optimizes the child's experience of using their nebulizer.  Read More 
Source: FastCompany, 2015 

Although the app stores are saturated with health apps targeted to improve our diet, fitness and overall health, the uptake of apps that encourage patients to build insights out of their own journey has been fairly low in comparison to fitness and diet apps. Learn more about how Research Now's surveys demonstrates how mHealth will drive patient engagement, and the opportunity that lies in influencing patient engagement through the development of apps that are motivated to help patients track their chronic conditions or overall health. Read More 
Source: mHealthIntelligence, 2015

Aside from apps and programs, what are some other innovations hacking into the socioeconomic behaviours that influence non-adherence? See how a smart pill dispenser works to send real-time data to patients, caregivers, clinicians and case managers to help manage skipped doses. Beyond the pill dispenser, see how pills themselves are syncing with bluetooth technologies to confirm if a pill is ingested or not. Read More. 
Source: mHealthIntelligence, 2015

#ShiftThePower

“The person with the least access to data in the system is the patient,” he said. “You can get it, but the burden is always on the patient. And it is scattered across many different silos of patient data.” Access to medical information for the patient may be unconventional, but has a significant power to enable self-care and improve medication adherence. See how MIT doctoral student Steven Keating is advocating the importance of providing patients more streamlined access to their own medical information to better understand their health. Read More

Storyline of the Week


This week's Storyline of the week is sourced from a Capgemini Consulting white paper, Patient Adherence: The Next Frontier in Patient Care, 2011.


March 3, 2015

Real World Evidence - How to build a patient intelligence platform in the digital age

We live in a digital era where big data, the internet of things and predictive analytics shape the decisions of our future. What truly defines the aggregation of real world evidence captured from the devices that we use on a daily basis? What are the inputs, stories and data sources that holistically measure a patient journey? At Self Care Catalysts, we are working towards building an analytics platform primed to capture real-world, real-time evidence from patient journies. This week’s patient intelligence and insights newsletter explores the importance and value of capturing such insights to supplement the traditional methods of clinical research. 

Patient Analytics in the News

How the Internet of Things Could Power Preventive Treatment of Chronic Disease 
Huffington Post 

Effects of SMS Mobile Health Technology on Patient Adherence
mHealth Intelligence

How We Are Measuring Ourselves to Better Health 
Entrepreneur Magazine

Harnessing Mobile Health Technologies to Transform Human Health 
Scope published by Stanford Medicine 

Hospital Readmissions Fall When Big Data Meets Patient Care
mHealth Intelligence

#ShiftThePower

Our #shiftthepower series will present stories of how our self-care health tech solutions and other programs are encouraging a path towards self discovery, enhancing the concept of community and creating a powerful set of real-world evidence to improve care. See how Africa is leveraging mobile health as a means to shift quality of life to address maternal care, ebola, malaria along with other conditions. 

Storyline of the Week

Although few were aware of digital tools, new technologies to assist patients in tracking their health needs and conditions represent a powerful opportunity to elevate the patient journey and provide a unique set of information for research for pharma and biotech. Here are some examples of what cancer patients are tracking:

This week's Storyline of the week was generated from Self Care Catalysts' syndicated report on Patient Empowerment : Tracking Behaviours and Digital Technology Usage. To learn more about this report contact Naomi Martin, Chief Commercial Officer at naomi@selfcarecatalysts.com.


November 07, 2014

Access to care and the changing landscape

With US midterm elections in full swing, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is once again in the spotlight.  With the stated goal of expanding access to care, the Affordable Care Act has reduced the uninsured population by 31% to 11% of adults under 651. Today’s PII explores the science behind expanded access to care and what it means for population health.

Mortality and Access to Care among Adults after State Medicaid Expansions
Sommers et al. (2012) N Engl J Med 367 1025-1034

This study demonstrated that Medicaid expansion resulted in an overall reduction in mortality compared to control States with no Medicaid expansion. The reduction in deaths was seen primarily in older adults, non-whites and residents of counties with a low socio-economic status. With the expansion of Medicaid, costs associated with delayed care were reduced by 21% coupled with an overall improvement in self-reported health status.

The Association Between Insurance Status And Prostate Cancer Outcomes: Implications For The Affordable Care Act.
Mahal et al. (2014) Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 17(3) 273-9

In this investigation, those without insurance were more likely to be from a lower socio-economic health status, lower level of educational attainment, and non-white. After adjusting for these potential confounders, insured men were more likely to present earlier in the course of disease, receive definitive treatment and have improved survival rates. The authors conclude that the Affordable Care Act will improve outcomes for men with prostate cancer, who are currently ineligible for Medicaid.

The Oregon Experiment—Effects of Medicaid on Clinical Outcomes. 
Baicker et al. (2013) N Engl J Med 368(18) 1713-1722

In a seminal paper on the effects of Medicaid expansion granted through lottery in the state of Oregon, Baicker and authors conclude that the ACA may result in increased use of health care services, raise rates of diabetes detection and management, lower rates of depression, and reduce financial strain. The study only covered two years of expanded coverage, which was too short to detect significant improvements in physical health outcomes.

Specialty Drug Spending Trends Among Medicare And Medicare Advantage Enrollees, 2007–11 
Trish et al. (2014) Health Aff. 33 2018-2024

Strategic Leverageable Insights

The Affordable Care Act has improved access to care for millions of Americans, primarily through expansion of Medicaid in participating states. Although the impact on population health of the demonstrated increased use of preventive services and chronic disease management may not be felt for some time, expanded access will further inflate the $2.7 trillion spent on US healthcare in 2013 alone.

Overwhelmed healthcare systems are increasingly looking to technology as a way to allow physicians to more effectively manage growing patient populations and facilitate greater patient self-care. Some estimates place the potential savings of mHealth technologies at 35% the cost of treating chronic conditions with standard of care. The Affordable Care Act has largely succeeded in expanding access to care to millions, with the notable side effect of stimulating a new era of health technology innovation necessary to meet the increased need for care without breaking the bank.

The Pharmaceutical industry can play a pivotal role in advancing patient experience by investing in technology and human capital interventions that can fill outstanding gaps in the value care chain. Increasingly, patients and caregivers are looking for new avenues to drive their own healthcare agenda e.g. treatment advocacy, reduced health insurance rates, more effective physician and patient conversations, etc. These are all new opportunities for the Pharmaceutical industry to actively participate in providing better care for patients.


October 28, 2014

Activating patient-care through effective communication

This week’s PII focuses on the importance of communication, education and information to help patients engage in self-care and proper disease management. During a patient’s journey there are many opportunities to educate, treat and learn. Determining the best communication method for each patient at critical points in their journey is an essential component to achieving a fully informed and engaged patient. This has the ability to improve care and reduce burden of disease. The articles herein demonstrate the importance of effective communication between providers and patients.

Liquid medication dosing errors in children: role of provider counselling strategies.
Yin HS et al. (2014) Acad Pediatr 14(3) 262-270

This study found that parents’ dosing errors could be reduced by counselling services that included demonstrations, show-back (show me what I just did) and teach-back (teach me what I taught you) and standardized dosing instruments. Of the 287 parents surveyed, 41% made dosing errors when administering liquid medication to their children despite receiving some form of counselling. While both counselling alone and instrument provision were reported to reduce errors, after adjusting for confounders only provision of both counselling and dosing instrumentation together resulted in a reduced likelihood of dosing errors. Providing adequate training and tools to parents is essential for minimizing the risk of inaccurate dosing.

Rheumatology clinicians’ experiences of brief training and implementation of skills to support patient self-management.
Dures et al. (2014) BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 15(108) 10.1186/1471-2474-15-108

Healthcare providers (doctors, nurses, occupational therapists) agreed that self-care is an important component of inflammatory arthritis management. When provided with education around teaching self-care, most healthcare providers were able to easily incorporate the practice of teaching self-management to their patients. Those who participated identified three key areas to address self-care behaviour. 1) Putting theory into practice – adequately translating self-care information into actionable patient education 2) challenging professional identity – each of the healthcare providers struggled with their ability to move out of their traditional role as the decider and into a participatory health coaching role 3) enhanced practice – all the participants agreed that having a better understanding of how to teach self-management would enhance their practice and therefore improve patient care.

Barriers and facilitators to self-care communication during medical appointments in the United States for adults with type 2 diabetes. 
Ritholz et al. (2014) Chronic Illn Feb 24 EPub ahead of print

The dominant barriers to proper communication around diabetes self-care included: the fear of being judged or shamed by the physician, lack of recall by the patient, and cultural background (see our recent PII). Conversely, having a trusting and non-judgemental environment, the ability to engage in open and honest discussions around the self-care activities, and the ability of the physician to respond with positive and hope-filled messages fostered an environment that allowed for appropriate communication around self-care strategies. As is evident from this study and the complex care required for diabetes self-management, improving patient-physician communication around self-care behaviours during medical appointments represents a critical time to address these behaviors. Creating the appropriate environment could have a profound impact on the health of diabetic patients.

Self-management behaviors in older adults with asthma: associations with health literacy.
Federman et al. (2014) J Am Geriatr Soc. 62(5) 872-9

This study demonstrated that health literacy can predict proper adherence and usage of asthma controlling medications. Older adults (>60 years) with low health literacy had an adherence rate of 22% compared to 47% adherence rate in those with adequate health literacy. There was a similar trend observed for proper medication usage, as those with higher health literacy were more likely to practice proper medication taking techniques. Asthma avoidance behaviours (such as proper cleaning, shutting windows, and appropriate use of dust covers) were more likely to be used by those with high health literacy. Communication and teaching strategies aimed at low health literacy may find the largest opportunities for improving adherence.

A 3-stage model of patient-centered communication for addressing cancer patients' emotional distress.
Dean and Street (2014) Patient Educ Couns 94(2) 143-8

The authors developed a model to help clinicians better communicate and treat emotionally distressed cancer patients. The stages in the model include recognition, exploration, and therapeutic action. In the recognition stage, it is important for the clinician to address the emotional distress of the patients. This is difficult because many patients are not forthright with their clinicians about their feelings around the diagnosis. The authors suggest that the clinician must be aware of this and provide patients and their circle of support an opportunity to share these thoughts and feelings. During exploration stage, clinicians must develop empathy and provide clarity and validation of the emotional concerns. Finally the clinicians must be able to take therapeutic action with their patients beyond treating the cancer itself. This includes utilizing active listening techniques, provision of information in a relevant and therapeutic way, and referring to support groups or other external resources as necessary. This model is designed to help facilitate the steps to alleviate the emotional distress to produce a positive health outcome.  

Strategic Leverageable Insights

There are many points along a patient’s journey that could be supported by strategies and techniques aimed at improving communication. Creating an appropriate communication strategy involves both the patient and physician. As is evident from these studies, patients often worry about how their feelings and actions will be interpreted by their physicians. Accordingly they are often reluctant to share directly, which negatively impacts care. By breaking down these barriers and providing patients with strategies to share or discuss their needs is an important step in creating an empowered patient. From the providers perspective the ability to relay and teach appropriate care messaging needs to address several key aspects including:

  1. Clarity – the message needs to be delivered using appropriate language to ensure appropriate understanding
  2. Meaningful – the content of the message must resonate with the patient and provide them an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the issue(s) at hand
  3. Actionable – the patient must utilize the information to make a change to improve their self-care or influence their treatment decision-making process.

While the burden of patient education often falls on the shoulder of the providers, more and more patients are turning to online and other sources of information about their disease and treatment options. In this regard, we note that many of these patients still do not find what they are looking for. In support of provider based education, we have seen first hand the benefit of utilizing a mobile platform to improve patient-physician communication leading to improved understanding both pre and post care.