Solving the patient-provider communication problem

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Coming home from the pharmacy, a patient is unsure about the prescription, and has questions when he receives it in the mail.

Another patient, taking medications for severe pain, stops taking her medicine before the prescription runs out. She feels better, so she doesn’t see a need to keep taking the medicine.

A third patient dutifully takes his medication out of the bag. Confused by the prescription, he takes the pills less frequently than the doctor recommended.

All three of these scenarios present a potentially difficult challenge for the healthcare providers -- time. In the first example, it might be a day or two before the patient is able to call the doctor to ask the questions.

In the other scenarios, it might be weeks or even months before a healthcare provider notices a problem at the patient’s next appointment. Or the problem may never be noticed at all.

However, the problems in each of those can be resolved with simple communication. A short phone call or some quick messages between the patient and a healthcare provider is all that’s needed.

Unfortunately, the healthcare system is not set up that way. Short phone calls and quick messages end up taking hours of time for doctors, nurses, therapists, and other providers. Time that’s otherwise spent providing direct care for other patients.

In the meantime, patients are left to fend for themselves, and their treatment progression may be compromised. In short, patient experiences and outcomes can be negatively affected because of a lack of simple communication.

What’s holding healthcare back?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Technology has made everything faster. Nearly every aspect of our lives -- communication, entertainment, information access, shopping -- can be conducted almost entirely through a smartphone.

What’s holding the healthcare industry back from leveraging this technology to bring patients and providers closer together? In our view, there are two reasons: slow adoption of technology, and a lack of a cohesive technology ecosystem.

The healthcare industry is marked by regulatory and economic uncertainty, and providers’ business models have been set up to withstand that uncertainty. It’s only natural, then, that they are hesitant to adopt technologies that they perceive will change the way they do business. Even if that change leads to greater efficiency and better outcomes.

And until recently, there haven’t been good reasons to change. While technology companies have provided better solutions to individual processes, they are difficult to implement within a clinic’s other systems.

In other words, the technologies would be cobbled together, rather than working on one ecosystem that addresses multiple aspects of a clinic’s operations.

LIVIT designed to make communication more efficient

When we set out to design LIVIT, our mission was to develop a device that tracked medication use and improved prescription adherence. We quickly understood that thinking of it as an ecosystem would do much more.

It would provide pharmacies, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers with critical data about drug usage.

It would give providers more information they could use to provide better care for their patients.

And it can provide faster, simpler communication. The LIVIT app puts communicating with healthcare professionals at patients’ fingertips. If they have a question about their medication or health, they can submit it through the app’s messaging capability, receiving an answer much faster than if they had to wait for an appointment.

Conversely, if a patient is not adhering to the prescription, their provider has access to that information in real time. This allows them to contact the patient and provide clear instructions.

This eliminates the time and cost associated with making phone calls and setting appointments and creates a closer connection between patients and providers.

Dharma Teja Nukarapu
Founder

dharma@sharkdreams.com
Raleigh, North Carolina
919-863-8864
www.sharkdreams.co