We hear it all at Get Real. Some organizations who learn about our technology immediately say, “That’s very cool, but seniors don’t use computers or have smartphones.” Or we hear, “What about the digital divide? How do we accommodate those vulnerable populations?” What they don’t know (yet) is there is a fundamental shift in the perception of health information technology among consumers and patients. Consumer-directed health applications are not only being adopted at a higher rate, but these same technologies are now showing clinical results AND shattering any myths out there around adoption. How is this happening? Easy—we keep it simple, and sticky.
Get Real, a global company headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, has been developing consumer health applications before anyone knew what they were and how they fit in the healthcare system. We did this because we saw the need for action-oriented tools for consumers and patients that would inform, educate, but also engage the person using it to make a demonstrable change in how they took care of themselves. We knew that patient self-care and self-management could reduce the healthcare spend as well increase quality of life. We partnered with fellow stewards in our data liberation journey, including the Microsoft HealthVault platform, where we were a launch partner in 2007 and have since developed more than 50 native HealthVault applications around the world.
Our flagship, award-winning product, InstantPHR™, built on the Microsoft technologies ASP.NET and SharePoint web parts, and native to HealthVault, helps organizations create a customized patient online experience and deploy it to their patients in weeks instead of months. This is achieved because of how we built the technology, powering organizations with a “toolbox” of 110+ health promotion and engagement tools to configure their experience and deploy it in real time.
We have been laser focused during the last few years in developing applications that bust the myths that are out there on adoption of consumer health technologies. In 2010, we partnered with Medstar Health, with a vulnerable population of uncontrolled diabetes patients. They were given a blood glucose meter and our application to use at home. This population not only saw significant reductions in key clinical measures, but also saw an increase in e-health literacy levels. So the population is now healthier, and also more educated and empowered around managing their disease over the long term.
We are very proud of one of our latest InstantPHR collaborations. We collaborated with Microsoft to develop a geriatric personal health application for the innovative City of Los Angeles program “ExergamersWellness Club.
” Partners in Care Foundation and St. Barnabas Senior Services unveiled the program recently, which combines technology with evidence-based health education, exercise, and overall health monitoring for senior citizens. Participants in the program use Kinect for Xbox 360 for exercise and monitor their usage and personal health information through our award- winning InstantPHR platform, which is integrated with Microsoft HealthVault.
Program participants reported improved health and well-being, which has motivated Microsoft and Get Real to expand the program to all senior centers in the Los Angeles Department of Aging service area. These results are due in part to the usability of the InstantPHR product, which allows a broad range of users, including those with low computer literacy, to securely track their health data online through a custom, personalized patient portal.
Seniors compete in virtual bowling tournaments with contemporaries across the country and dance to a host of music choices using Kinect for Xbox 360. The ability for participants to then log on to their computer and track vital health data such as blood pressure and weight affords them the opportunity to realize the benefits of the program anytime, anywhere. Of the 34 seniors enrolled in the Exergamer Wellness Club, the majority reported significant health benefits. All enrollees say they feel happier and more energetic with one participant reporting the ability to forego artificial assistance when walking.
Orlando, one of the Los Angeles “Exergamers”, checks his blood pressure measurements using our application.
The technology employed through the Exergamer Program and with Medstar are just examples of the power that Microsoft partners can bring to a broad range of individuals. We know that we are just getting started because there are many more consumers, patients, caregivers, and organizations to impact through technology.