Verizon’s FDA-cleared patient engagement app adds Telcare, Genesis

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 25, 2014        

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Telcare Mobile Diabetes

Telcare’s Blood Glucose Monitoring System

Verizon recently received its second FDA clearance for its converged health management software platform, which MobiHealthNews first wrote about last August. While the intended use cases and overall technical aspects of the system haven’t changed, Verizon has added support for Telcare’s cellular-enabled blood glucose monitoring system and Genesis Health Technologies’ blood glucose monitoring system. The device’s first clearance enabled it to connect to five devices from Ideal Life — its blood pressure cuff, glucose monitor, pulse oximeter, weight scale, and its telehealth hub. The recent additions point to Verizon’s goal of having a device-agnostic platform.

With a focus on patient engagement, the Verizon offering is primarily intended for providers who are taking on more risk for covered populations, especially integrated deliver networks (IDNs). Verizon sees health plans as the next biggest customer group for the platform and self-insured employers are a third.

Verizon’s platform is a remote monitoring platform that collects and stores biometric data from personal health devices patients use while at home — not in clinical settings. It doesn’t claim to be real-time or for emergency monitoring and it’s not interpretive. Patients use a mobile app (one iOS app has already been developed) and an online portal to review the data from the platform, while clinicians initially can use an online portal.

Notably, Verizon’s platform doesn’t only transmit the data, it also offers educational and motivational functions. According to its clearance document, it enables “clinicians to send tasks, recommendations, surveys, educational, and motivational messages to patients”. While the software platform is intended to be white-labeled by providers, health plans, or employer customers, it has gamification elements built-in, including its own virtual currency for rewards that Verizon calls “Healthies” internally. That’s according to Verizon’s Director of Product Management for Mobile Health Julie Kling who spoke with MobiHealthNews in an interview at HIMSS 2014 in Orlando.

Kling, a nurse by training who served as the mobile executive business lead at Humana for nearly three years, joined Verizon as a director of product management for mobile health at the end of 2012.

Kling explained that as patients complete their education plan using the Verizon platform, they can earn Healthies that add up like virtual coins. Verizon’s customers can connect the Healthies feature with their own rewards system if they have one and it is intended to be customized. Kling is a big fan of Candy Crush — one of the most popular mobile games in the market today — and the Healthies feature might be inspired by addictive games like Candy Crush at a high level.

The platform also includes a private social network feature that Verizon says was developed separately from the regulated platform, but it works with it. This social network is intended to allow groups of people with common issues to discuss their condition with friends, family, or other patients like them. Kling said that the privacy features of this social network is what will differentiate it along with it being mobile-centric.

Kling said the platform is currently in clinical trials with provider partners — including integrated delivery networks (IDNs), but Verizon plans to begin pilots with providers and employers soon too.

“This is a system that allows education materials to be written by our customer — whether it’s a provider, health plan, or employer,” Kling said. “They can embed their own videos and other educational content right into it and customize it to help them facilitate their own goals. One might have a problem with A1c levels, another might be more focused on [overall patient satisfaction scores], [still] another might be focused on their high blood pressure patient population and medication adherence.”