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dmi:Design Value Award Winner - Mad*Pow and ImagineCare
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Mad*Pow and ImagineCare

Imaginecare: A Mobile Health Solution

 

Chronic health conditions are uniquely challenging for both patients and health systems. More than two thirds of all health care costs go to treating chronic disease. As an example, the total estimated cost of treatment for diagnosed diabetes in the US in 2012 was $245 billion. While preventative care is more effective at improving cost and patient outcomes than hospital care, fewer than 3 percent of health care dollars are spent on preventative care. 

A solution to improve patient care and lower costs by decreasing hospital visits for patients with chronic illnesses would benefit patients, families, employers, and health systems alike. So Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, founded in 1893 in New Hampshire, engaged Mad*Pow, a Boston-based innovation firm that leverages strategic design and the psychology of motivation to help them develop a solution. 

The focus of the project was to shift the landscape of patient care to focus on prevention, better quality communication, and better overall health by empowering and supporting patients and clinicians managing chronic diseases. By applying human-centered design principles, involving all stakeholders in the process of co-design, using evidence-based behavior change methods and techniques, and designing comprehensive engagement strategies, Dartmouth-Hitchcock worked with Mad*Pow to design and develop ImagineCare, a bold, 24/7 digital-enabled health center and integrated mobile health solution that improves patient care and lowers costs by decreasing hospital visits for patients with chronic illnesses.

ImagineCare allows clinicians to monitor and care for patients continuously without a visit to the hospital. The patient iOS app provides patients a quick overview of what they need to do each day and how they are progressing, using Bluetooth to connect patients phones with ImagineCare-provided sensors like blood pressure cuffs and weight scales. The clinician app is designed to help clinicians efficiently manage alerts and priorities in one screen, while using the other to review the details of each patient’s condition and background– putting patient histories and personal details easily within reach and facilitating real-time voice, video, and text chats with patients in their care.

Clinicians engage with patients at the moment support is most needed, not when they show up in the ER or for an appointment. When clinicians can reach out to a patient whose blood pressure has suddenly spiked and say, “what’s going on?” they have the opportunity to address an issue before it turns into a larger problem. Clinicians and patients can work together immediately to make adjustments, without waiting days or weeks for an appointment, or letting a small issue turn into one that requires a visit to the ER. ImagineCare has also changed the nature of relationships between patients and health providers. So often, technology is used to create a barrier or replace person-to-person contact, but Mad*Pow has been able to use design and technology to improve the quality of human interaction and communication via ImagineCare.

The pilot of this initiative, executed with patients with chronic hypertension, showed immediate and dramatic results. Dartmouth-Hitchcock saw a 56 percent reduction in hospital admissions and a 23 percent reduction in ER care costs for ImagineCare patients. These impressive outcomes meant significant cost savings for the medical center, with preventative care via ImagineCare costing much less than emergency and in-hospital care. ImagineCare also received a 95 percent patient satisfaction rating from patients receiving clinical services. In fact, the results of the ImagineCare pilot were so strong, Dartmouth-Hitchcock sold the application to a Swedish company, which is now piloting ImagineCare in Europe.

Mad*Pow helped Dartmouth-Hitchcock develop ImagineCare and, in turn, helped shift the culture of care for Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinicians putting the focus on wellness and proactive health maintenance rather than reactionary emergency care or care prompted by illness.

 

  
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