What Pill Was I Supposed to Take? A New App Remembers For You

By David Brown and KUT StaffJune 6, 2014 5:54 pm

Eat this, not that. Exercise daily – but don’t overdo it. Go easy on the salt. Limit your caffeine. Take the white pills in the morning with food and the yellow ones in the evening with water.

Wait – what?

Following the doctor’s orders isn’t always so easy – especially for people with chronic conditions, who often have multiple medical providers. Sometimes it’s just plain confusing. Bur now a new app’s come along to help with all that – and it could be a lifesaver.

Patient IO is being developed by Texas-based Filament Labs, a healthcare technology company headquartered in Austin. The new app promises to bridge the gap between patients and doctors.

The Texas Standard’s David Brown sat down with ​Filament Labs CEO Jason Bornhorst and Chief Production Officer Colin Anawaty for a dose of insight into the new technology.

Bornhorst and Anawaty received a million dollar seed fund to help launch Patient IO. They say it’s unlike anything else. “We felt like we could represent the patient experience the best,” Anawaty says. “A lot of existing solutions are built by providers, who are solving their problems, but they’re not necessarily solving the problems of the patient’s life.”

On the patient side, Patient IO works like a typical smartphone app. There are notifications and places to enter data; customized care plans appear as to-do lists, with reminders to drink water, log symptoms, check blood pressure and so on. On the doctor side, the data is managed on an extensive website.

Anawaty says the app is more than just checking boxes.

“We can capture really important health data in a structured manner,” he says, “so that it’s also then encrypted and sent back to the doctor and the nurse in real time.” This makes the data transfer fast and confidential.

Persuading doctors – and patients – to buy into Patient IO will determine its success. That’s why Bornhorst says they’ve made the app easy to use. The interface is clean and intuitive. It helps, too, that Filament Labs is debuting the technology on the fringes of healthcare – in long-term care centers and outpatient facilities before branching out to major hospitals.

As healthcare enters a new era under the Affordable Care Act, Bornhorst says the change comes with a new business model. The long-held practice of fee-for-service is going away. No longer will more visits mean more money for doctors.

“Roughly 10 percent of the US healthcare system is now on an accountable model,” Bornhorst says, “where the health of the patient actually directly determines the money that the doctor takes home at the end of the year.”

All of this has Bornhorst and Atawaty thinking 2014 will be the breakout year for Patient IO.