6 Questions on the Future of Healthcare with Ōmcare

October 29  

6 Questions is a new interview series with Medical Alley leaders on the future of healthcare. Medical Alley Association’s membership includes leaders in healthcare delivery, payment, technology, and policy, which gives us – and in turn, you – access to diverse perspectives on how healthcare is changing and what lies ahead.

Medical Alley is the global epicenter of health innovation and care; 6 Questions, is meant to share insights and spark discussion. If you have a perspective on the future of healthcare, feel free to share it by reaching out to Frank Jaskulke, Vice President of Intelligence at [email protected]

This interview with the Ōmcare leadership team including CEO Lisa Lavin, President, Laurie Knutson, VP of Marketing & Customer Experience Wendy Wiesman, and Director of Engineering, Sajith Padmaja, has been lightly edited for clarity and length. To see more, click the button below.

What is Ōmcare?

Ōmcare is a health technology company that delivers remote care and real medication adherence. We do this by extending the reach of the caregiver thru a proprietary interactive IoT technology – promising right pill, right time, right person. By partnering with pharmacies, payers, providers and family caregivers, Ōmcare helps people live healthier, more vibrant, independent lives.

Ōmcare is Anser Innovation’s second subsidiary, following the success of its first, PetChatz, which allows pet owners to video chat and remotely dispense scents and food to their pets while away from home. PetChatz was developed as a proof of concept for Anser’s healthcare business, to provide secure, remote pill dispensing.

With Ōmcare, medication is loaded inside the device in multi-dose pouch pack form, and the system is locked. Caregivers then remotely dispense medications at a given time and confirm adherence. Ōmcare will initially focus on eldercare where multiple medications make compliance a bigger challenge.

In 2009, the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation found that non-adherence to medication resulted in more than 125,000 deaths annually in the U.S. and added costs between $105 billion and $290 billion. Ōmcare aims to change that in a way that hasn’t yet been done—by including visual confirmation of medication compliance, with a supplemental benefit of telehealth, social interaction and longitudinal data collection to demonstrate adherence to clinical protocols.

Will the future of healthcare be most significantly defined by reigning in costs or accelerating outcomes?

Consumers are starting to drive the future of healthcare, and their expectations include increased use of technology to achieve both reduced cost and better health outcomes. Consumers care about convenience and connectedness; that’s how the tech giants grew so quickly. There is a real opportunity to reduce cost, given that it is easier to introduce new approaches and innovations as technology itself is moving quickly. You’ll see rapid innovation towards the reality of home health and telemedicine, where people are cared for between acute episodes in a connected, convenient, and compassionate way.  Better connectedness should drive a reduction in wasteful, duplicative spending. Treating people in their home setting may also improve outcomes more than we predict.

What is the definition of value in healthcare today and what should it be?

Wow – wouldn’t it be great to have an answer to that question??!  But, do you mean ‘morally’ – where “Healthcare is a right” even though we struggle to define ‘healthcare’?  Or – do you mean financially- where value is an equation of “Value = Perceived Outcome – Cost”?  It seems that “Value” in healthcare depends on what rock you stand on and your role in the system of healthcare.  Physicians, insurers, patients, pharma, caregivers, politicians bring a perspective on “value” that reflects what they personally value.

As individuals assume more financial burden they begin to define their own balance between cost and perceived quality of care. An issue is that a growing percent of our population doesn’t have a level of financial engagement that forces deeper thinking about ‘value’ so today decisions on ‘Value’ are left to the Healthcare Industry and Political Leaders.  Our inability to define ‘Value’ and ‘Healthcare’ globally puts these leaders in a difficult position as they must make decisions for populations, not individuals. It’s likely that if consumers thought about decisions being made for us, we might do things differently.

I’m optimistic we will find new ways to treat and cure disease; to leverage technology at a personal level; and to address preventable chronic disease. Finally, we fervently hope that we create new public/private partnerships that will allow for dignity in aging and managing disease that is realistic and compassionate for all individuals.

What’s the biggest “blind spot” in healthcare today?

The biggest blind spot is aligning appropriate reimbursement levels and payment models for clinical professionals and care facilities that reflect ‘value’, when ‘value’ itself remains undefined.

What’s your company’s or sector’s biggest “blind spot?”

Just as it’s difficult to define value, it is also difficult to find consensus around the definition of ‘outcomes’.  A blind spot in defining outcomes is understanding the impact of medication non-adherence, especially in vulnerable populations. Ōmcare was created to provide REAL medication adherence, using audio/visual confirmation of medication adherence of right pill, right time, right person. We are working hard to establish partnerships that align clinical outcome and financial objectives of all stakeholders, particularly for caregivers and the people they love.

Why is a presence in Medical Alley critical to your company?

The success of any meaningful new product in the healthcare market depends on partnerships.  Anyone who thinks their solution will stand on its own, or be the ‘hub’ for everything else, is probably destined to struggle. Our region, known as Medical Alley, includes a rich tapestry of innovators in health, tech, pharma and life sciences, as well as leading care delivery systems and insurance partners willing to try new approaches. We believe in Medical Alley because of the community that has come together to create connections between those working to innovate and collaborate. While Ōmcare will partner with stakeholders from many sectors across healthcare, we intend to start local.

What is the one thing, other than time or money, you wish you had more of?

Access to leaders in major healthcare organizations. There are so many amazing people and organizations doing incredible things. Taking risks. Gathering data. Challenging the status quo. I’m energized by seeing people come together to change the world. I’d love to figure out a way to meet them all and hear their stories and perspectives!

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