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What is the big “a-ha” moment with your end users when you first demo your mHealth application for them?

Sense.ly provides the patient with an easy-to-use interface that can deliver remote assessments, tailored rehabilitation exercises, and daily check-ins at their home or on a mobile phone or tablet using natural user interfaces including a virtual avatar, speech recognition, body recognition, and augmented reality. The big “a-ha” moment comes when people realize how easy Sense.ly is to interact with and how simple it  is to express themselves in a meaningful manner, similar to how they talk to their doctors in the office. They’re not confused by the interface and feel like the system is actually listening to them and responding with understanding and empathy.

What problems does your app solve in healthcare?

  • Lack of patient compliance in between office and therapy visits.
  • New demand for health services due to 50 million new patients entering an overstretched system.
  • Skyrocketing costs due to uncontrollable pay for procedure reimbursement and lack of clear outcomes data.

What are the top three features you view as most important when designing and building a mHealth app for physicians and/or patients?

  • The app must be easy-to-use for patients so an intuitive user interface that engages with the patient, easily solicits high quality feedback, and makes the patient come back is extremely important.
  • The system must also take as little time as possible for doctors to use, preferably not time at all. They are very busy individuals and any tool that makes them work more for equal or lesser value in return will not be adopted. In fact, the return value should tremendously exceed the effort put in.
  • The app must be high quality and precise. You are dealing with people’s health here so any app that’s perceived as a toy and does not provide high quality results and outcomes will be put to the side.

What challenges or needs did you see and/or experience in the industry that drove you to build this application?

If you go to any kind of therapy appointment today, the clinician will usually teach you how to perform the exercises and send you home with a sheet of paper to perform exercises at home. Most patients will toss that piece of paper out and not follow the regimen as prescribed. Additionally, the clinician will also not know what your overall experience and pain levels were when you were doing the prescribed therapy and patients end up reciting from memory two-three weeks later, which leads to inaccuracies. This issue does not just occur in physical therapy, though. Almost every disease condition – diabetes, asthma, mental health, heart diseases – have prescribed sets of at-home therapies, which are not explained nor measured well today. The Sense.ly application aims to address this gap.

Is there a patient component to your app? If so, what role does it play in the patient’s care experience?

Yes, we have a virtual avatar, “Molly,” who engages with the patient to ask him/her questions and take measurements using a mobile phone and medical devices while the patient is away from the office.  Patient experience, particularly engagement and ease of use is paramount to this app and the industry as a whole because without the patients’ active participation, our system will not improve.

What are the top features/benefits of your app?

Sense.ly leverages natural user interfaces including a virtual avatar, speech recognition, body recognition, and augmented reality. These technologies have matured to the point of commercialization and have been shown by research to engage with patients, particularly the elderly and mentally ill, much more effectively than a piece of discharge paper. Patients’ needs are complex and their recovery patterns can change day-to-day. Sense.ly provides clinicians with daily compliance and clinical data that can be used to monitor the patient and adjust therapies on the fly, ensuring maximum outcomes. It allows the hospitals to discharge patients earlier, have better evidence to reimburse for procedures, and prevent costly readmissions that they’re being penalized for today.

In one sentence, tell us what you think the future of mobile health will look like.

Mobile health, at least the phrase as it exists today, will become a deeply embedded part of our everyday lives. In addition to our brains judging and measuring the kinds of activities that are good or bad for us, external monitors and even implanted devices will measure, analyze, and guide us via  “health voice” in almost every decision we make.

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Jonathon Dreyer

About Jonathon Dreyer

Jonathon Dreyer is the director of cloud and mobile solutions marketing for Nuance’s Healthcare division where he is driving a physician-first approach to medicine by bringing cloud-based speech recognition and clinical language understanding technology to a worldwide community of healthcare IT developers and provider organizations. Prior to his current role, Jon worked as the solutions marketing manager for Diagnostic Imaging at Nuance and previously headed up marketing at Commissure Inc., a provider of clinical documentation and healthcare communication solutions. Jon graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors at Wayne State University where he earned a B.S business administration.