A lot can happen for patients between provider visits, especially for high-risk patients batting chronic diseases. And amidst a nationwide provider shortage, having the manpower to sort through patients and prioritize those most at risk in the next given 24-48 hours seems unrealistic.
Current patient portals offer a reactive option, where patients can reach out to their primary care or specialist if an adverse issue arises between visits. The resulting transactional Q and A format between patient and provider offers some communication. However, this method does not encompass real-time daily updates of a person’s condition, especially crucial for higher-risk patients.
Health technology company WellSky is looking to address this gap in care, and to take it a step further by improving outcomes with predictive AI technology.
In late February, Overland Park, Kansas-based WellSky acquired TapCloud, a virtual engagement technology company that connects patients and providers in real-time to address care needs between visits. TapCloud’s technology is EHR agnostic. WellSky intends to leverage TapCloud’s AI technology and to augment it with WellSky’s predictive AI technology.
Chicago-based TapCloud has AI technology that allows patients to input their symptoms. Words appear on a phone screen and patients can simply tap on the words to input their current status. Using an app for phones, tablets or using a computer, patients may see words like “night sweats,” “upset stomach” or “swollen hands” as examples of symptoms being experienced. Patients can select what is most appropriate of their physical symptoms, along with terms like “weak,” “good day” or “comfortable” that can express how they are feeling.
As a result, providers can implement care interventions accordingly.
“Sourcing daily updates from higher-risk patients so that providers can proactively respond to needs transforms the partnership into one of continuous yet efficient communication—improving patient outcomes, increasing satisfaction, and extending providers’ care management beyond the traditional visit,” said Bill Miller, CEO of WellSky in an email. “TapCloud enables this ongoing communication between patients and their family members and providers and distills extensive patient lists into key priorities for the day. The fluid exchange of actionable information that requires minimal time from both patients and providers is what is missing from healthcare today.”
But the partnership does not just attempt to close the gap in care by increasing communication. According to Miller, the AI component will also allow for improved care overall beyond what increased patient/provider communication alone could achieve.
“TapCloud leverages AI to fuel its patented patient engagement platform, determining what the content of the interaction with the patient will be. Over time, WellSky will leverage its team of data scientists and AI/machine learning experts to continually add key capabilities to the TapCloud platform that ‘learns’ from this first-of-its-kind combination of provider-sourced EHR data and patient-sourced symptom and well-being data,” Miller explained.
WellSky hopes the resulting real-time AI collaboration will allow for a reduction in rehospitalization as well as improve outcomes. As a result, the partnership should lower overall costs, Miller postulates.
“TapCloud has worked tirelessly to close the communication gap between patients and providers through the use of data and technology. With WellSky, we gain access to a larger network and increased investment, which will broaden our reach and allow even more patients and families to be active participants in their care journeys,” said Phil Traylor, CEO of TapCloud in the news release announcing the acquisition. “Together, we are well-positioned to expand the ways we can help our clients be successful, no matter which EHR platform they use. I’m excited to see how we will innovate together.”
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