Archimedes heads straight to patients with new apps

September 18, 2012 in Medical Technology

SAN FRANCISCO – Archimedes, the technology company, whose tagline is “quantifying healthcare,” is staying true to its namesake, the Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer for whom no detail seemed too small, no problem too big to be solved by the right algorithm.

The company, whose core technology – the Archimedes Model – is a clinically realistic, mathematical model of human physiology, diseases, interventions and healthcare systems, has recently received attention, accolades and awards for IndiGO, a decision support tool designed for use by physicians and other healthcare providers, such as nurses, care managers, health coaches – and, now, patients.

IndiGO uses advanced algorithms to analyze person-specific health information and predict risks of adverse health outcomes, and the benefit of adherence to medication and lifestyle changes.

[See also: HHS taps Archimedes for high-powered analytics]

Since last November, three health centers have deployed the IndiGO tool: MyHealth Access Network in Tulsa, Okla., the Colorado Beacon Consortium and Fairview Health Services in Minnesota. Kaiser Permanente, which used IndiGO in a pilot study, plans to expand its use in Southern California.

Soon through new consumer apps, the capability will be put into the hands of patients, too, via the Web and on mobile phones.

In writing about the government-sponsored innovation event Datapalooza in a White House blog last June, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, spotlighted Archimedes as giving “physicians the ability to create optimized care regimens for patients based on the most up to date research and information available.”

At Datapalooza, Archimedes won “The Best of Care Applications” award for IndiGO.

[See also: New app maps patients' health risks]

The award, says Josh Adler, “represents further recognition of the value of clinical decision support, delivered at the point of patient care.” Adler, vice president of Archimedes and IndiGO business leader, says IndiGO drives better patient engagement and increases adherence, leading to improved outcomes and lower costs.

That’s how it’s working for Gregory C. Reicks, D.O., who uses the IndiGO tool in tandem with his EHR to help his patients take charge of their own health, or at least to persuade them to take baby steps to better health.

IndiGO takes data from his EHR, including a whole host of demographic information, clinical information such as blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar levels, and puts it all into an algorithms. Based upon clinical evidence, it predicts risks for that particular patient.

The information displays in a graphical format.

At a glance, patients can see what certain interventions, such as taking a statin, an ace inhibitor, quitting smoking, lowering their hemoglobin A1C by one point, exercising more and losing weight, might do.

“They see the risk in a bar-graph format, let’s say dropping from 10 percent to 5 percent – and that seems to have quite a bit of impact on patients and their willingness to follow my recommendations,” Reicks said.

During the first month of using IndiGo, Reicks who is part of the Colorado Beacon IndiGO pilot and on the executive committee of the Colorado Beacon Consortium, has increased the number of patients with which he employs IndiGo from 40 a month to 80, with plans for more increases to come.

“I also can show the patients what the risk would be if he were not taking a certain medication, Reicks said. “It’s helped also in compliance. I’m convinced that it’s been really helpful in my practice,” Reicks said.

To Adler, IndiGO is working just as he intended – to improve chronic conditions, which also happens to drive down healthcare costs, all accomplished by having meaningful patient discussions at the point of care. If an app can directly put that graphical information directly into the patients’ hands – that, too, is bound to drive up the actions people take to reduce their health risks. As he sees it, it’s about “risks and choices, and a better sense of ownership.”

As Archimedes might have said: “There’s an algorithm for that.”

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