28 Jan Remote Healthcare for All: A Medical Association Teams Up With Cell-Ed Delivering Therapy to High Need Population
No one is surprised by the fact that healthcare is a basic human need, particularly during a pandemic. What is surprising, however, is the extent to which people do not have access to affordable, relevant care designed for their specific health requirements. In fact, two of three people do not have access to the care they need to maintain their health.
Add in rising healthcare costs, soaring rates of preventable disease for all segments of the population, and a shortage of healthcare providers – and it’s a significant challenge at multiple levels. It is no wonder research-based digital health and therapeutics with practical applications are top-of-mind to prevent, manage, and treat medical challenges in an increasingly virtual world.
“What we need are digital interventions to meet the ‘triple aim’: scalable, more effective, less expensive interventions than those currently clinically mandated.” Physician, Veterans Administration Hospital, CA
Unfortunately, digital health interventions (such as telehealth) are reaching a fraction of patients during the pandemic. Compounding this challenge, there are 1 in 5 adults with limited health literacy – a key social determinant of health. This population had significantly higher hospitalization and emergency service usage pre-pandemic, and they are being further locked out of digital services due to limited digital literacy and other challenges.
Introducing Cell-Ed For Health and SVS SET
One innovative medical association, the Society for Vascular Surgery (“SVS”), decided to become the first remote digital health solution powered by Cell-Ed. SVS intended to meet the “triple aim” (scalable, more effective, less expensive interventions) starting with extremely vulnerable populations:
In this case the first market was elderly adults with advanced peripheral artery disease (“PAD”). It is estimated that 10 million people in the United States have PAD, which restricts blood flow to peripheral arteries in the arms, legs, and feet.
If left untreated, PAD can result in significant blockages, pain, and possible amputation. It is associated with increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, and coronary heart disease – and it is entirely preventable.
To help patients recover and maintain their health, SVS and Cell-Ed collaborated and created a mobile app that was prescribed to PAD patients as a significant part of their treatment plan: Supervised Exercise Therapy (SET).
Called SVS SET (Supervised Exercise Therapy), the program is designed to overcome traditional barriers to exercise therapy including, cost, transportation, work and family obligations, and even the challenges of creating and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits. During the duration of the 12-week SVS SET program, feedback from patients was collected regularly. The SVS SET remote digital program was the first of its kind offered by a surgical association.
“We at the Society of Vascular Surgery, along with our partner Cell-Ed, see a unique opportunity for the virtual delivery of the program through our new SVS SET app. By removing barriers for patients and radically expanding access, we believe the app can improve the quality of life for millions of PAD patients.”
Providing a remote way for people to better manage their disease through exercise, coaching, and education is key–as are the four differentiators the SET solution offers:
- Radical accessibility: available across any device, for adults at all literacy levels
- Personalized support: automated and live, certified health and wellness coaching
- Time and cost savings: micro-lesson programming available at a fraction of the cost
- Effective flexibility: patients report exponential gains based on a variety of patient reported outcomes
The early results of pilot and clinical testing are promising. According to one patient in the program:
“My 30 minute daily walks have become my new religion. My legs no longer cramp at night, I can stand without pain, I walk every day and am taking two classes online. The biggest win is building new habits.”
Another user commented:
“What has helped me to make progress during these 6 weeks is the first phone call with the coach. Since then, I have felt motivated to keep walking every day.”
Upon completing the 12-week program, one patient stated:
“I’ll do this for the rest of my life. I feel invigorated after I walk. The program works. There’s no more heavy cramping in my calf at all. I always stayed active but an exercise routine has never been a part of my life. Now I need to do it every day. Even being inside, I do it every day. In fact, I need to alter my route because you jinxed me and I am literally wearing down a path in the carpet!”
A 2019 study found that 98% of physicians would refer patients to SET therapy if offered, a promising potential for a remote and reimbursable solution in the future.
In addition to SET for advanced peripheral artery disease, the digital intervention can be customized for a breadth of high-need healthcare situations from cardiac rehab, diabetes prevention, remote monitoring, and more. To learn more, please reach out to [email protected] .