A mobile ally for engaging asthmatics
April 7, 2015 in Medical Technology
It shouldn’t take a life-threatening motorcycle accident and a lengthy hospital stay to inspire new healthcare tools and mobile apps, but that is exactly what paved the groundwork for OSIA Medical, a developer of disease and condition specific platforms designed to engage patients in their own care and provide clinicians with actionable health information.
As Joshua Dees, co-founder and CEO of Salt Lake City-based OSIA explains it, the company’s first product, Asthma Ally, was developed for personal use to help track his asthma which flared up significantly during his long recovery from a 2009 Motocross accident. Over the course of the recovery, Dees had difficulty managing his asthma. But he was often at a loss to describe to his doctor exactly when his flare-ups occurred and under what conditions – information that would have been very useful to help determine what, if any, changes were needed in his current treatment regimen.
Realizing he needed a method of providing accurate information to his doctor in order to better treat his asthma, Dees, a former software engineer with Boeing, created his own tracking application for his phone. On his next office visit Dees had a complete record of his good days and bad days at his fingertips, as well as his inhaler use and medication compliance. It so impressed his doctor – Rich Hendershot – that he became a partner in the company to help develop the app for the broader market.
From these humble beginnings and its founding in 2013, OSIA Medical will introduce the Asthma Ally and Health Ally mobile health monitoring app and decision support platforms at the company’s inaugural product showing at HIMSS15.
The intent with Asthma Ally is to engage patients in their own treatment by helping them accurately capture relevant health data, all while being minimally invasive. “It takes me a total of about four-and-a-half minutes each week to enter the data required,” Dees noted. Currently, doctors and caregivers access the patient data entered via an online portal to help make care decisions, though OSIA is working with major EHR vendors to have that information available through the patient record and Cerner will even feature a demonstration of Asthma Ally in their booth at HIMSS15.
The app is downloadable for iOS, Android and Microsoft operating systems and walks patients through a series of questions each day to collect relevant data to help monitor their condition.
“With asthma environmental conditions also play a significant role in how the disease is managed and was one of the reasons I moved to Salt Lake, which has lower levels of pollen than where I grew up,” Dees noted. For this reason, Asthma Ally also collects data from organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, weather companies like the Weather Underground and a variety of pollen reporting entities to collect location-specific data that is relevant to each particular user. The OSIA platform then uses advanced correlative algorithms to provide clinical decision support for patient-specific care recommendations. It also identifies and flags patients who may need more immediate intervention and alerts caregivers via automated messaging.
With the platform built for Asthma Ally, the team at OSIA is now rolling out apps to help manage a number of other chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, depression/anxiety and heart disease among others under the Health Ally name.
“What we envision is providing patients with real tools to participate in their healthcare and to augment with real data that smaller and smaller time patients and doctors get to spend together, to help improve those interactions,” Dees explained.
Asthma Ally and Health Ally are available to both payers and providers and priced on a per-member, per-month subscription.