Dr. Angela Fusaro used her health care and business background to create Physician 360, an at-home diagnostic testing kit for patients, who then see a physician online.
From telemedicine and remote diagnostics to administrative apps and the Apple Watch, technological innovation is shaping the ways in which Americans manage their health care.
Several Atlanta-based companies have introduced platforms and products pointing the way forward in specialized industry categories.
“Technology has dramatically changed the way people are being diagnosed and receiving treatment,” said Jim Syperski, CEO of Nview Health, which offers screening and diagnostic assessment for mental and behavioral health care providers. Once a diagnosis is made by a physician, Nview’s automated solutions help them monitor patients.
Nview’s FDA-approved core assessment tool can identify more than 20 behavioral health conditions and is validated by both the National Institutes of Health and World Health Organization, according to Syperski. Last September, the company announced a $4.65 million investment from Atlanta-based venture firm BIP Capital.
“We believe our solutions will greatly benefit patients, physicians, clinicians, students, parents and educators who are struggling with an alarming increase in mental health issues,” Syperski said. “Many standardized, paper-based behavioral health assessments only screen for one or two conditions, which presents a problem for individuals who have multiple issues.”
Also in the mental health field, Rachel McCrickard created Motivo to use technology to streamline the process by which therapists, social workers, addiction counselors and other mental health professionals become licensed practitioners. Similar to a medical doctor’s residency program, fledgling therapists and counselors must complete two years of supervised practice under an experienced professional to earn a license in their state of choice. The process can present a costly logistical challenge, especially for someone living away from a metropolitan center, said McCrickard, CEO of the company.
“For two years, I drove two hours from north Georgia to Atlanta every week to get the supervision hours I needed,” she added.
Founded in 2017, Motivo provides an online video platform where recent graduates and their clinical supervisors can meet and establish a program for fulfilling state licensure requirements. The program is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
“Motivo picks up where graduate school leaves off,” McCrickard added.
One of Motivo’s goals is to expand the pool of licensed professionals in under-served rural areas. According to McCrickard, 78% of pre-licensed therapists using Motivo hail from a health professional shortage area (HPSA), as defined by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
“As a licensed therapist, I am inspired by the opportunity to create a software product that is improving and expanding access to mental health care,” she said.
In December 2019, a seed round for Motivo raised $2.2 million from investors including Cox Enterprises, Techstars, SEI Ventures, ECMC, Great Oaks VC, The Jump Fund, Emmett Partners and Next Wave Impact Fund.
Technology also is making health care more accessible for patients.
Angela Fusaro, a former emergency physician at Emory University School of Medicine and graduate of the Goizueta Business School, co-founded Physician 360 in 2015. The company markets at-home diagnostic kits for adults and children to detect common illnesses including anemia, strep and the flu. The kits are ordered online and picked up at a local pharmacy. Once a result is determined, the customer consults online with a board-certified physician to discuss care. Cost of the process is around $50.
“As an emergency room doctor, I cared for a lot of people who could have been helped without going to the ER,” said Fusaro, CEO of Physician 360. “The telemedicine revolution is about increasing access to care and placing patients in the driver seat of their healthcare. That concept applies to many aspects of medicine, from visiting the family doctor to undergoing robotic surgery from a distance.”
Currently, Fusaro said, most telemedicine follows a “reactionary” model: When a patient gets a symptom, he or she initiates remote diagnosis and treatment through an online platform. In the near future, she explained, “as more and more medical data, such as blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar and EKGs, are monitored, recorded and shared by using common devices, such as the Apple Watch and Google Home, we will see the power of predictive analytics and telemedicine take off.”
While smartphones, watches and online platforms are creating efficiencies in the way health care is delivered, Florence Healthcare is developing software to help clinical drug researchers spend less time and money on paperwork. According to CEO Ryan Jones, some 7,300 clinical drug research teams — including nearly 1 in 3 cancer researchers – use the company’s software applications.
“Before, physicians had to rely on a paid employee to bring them paper documents, which had to be reviewed, signed and processed before sharing with other stakeholders,” Jones explained. “Now they can be electronically signed from any device and distributed to team members, pharmaceutical manufacturers, even the FDA.”
Health care technology at a glance
- The healthcare IT market is projected to reach $390.7 billion by 2024, up from $187.6 billion in 2019.
- The global healthcare cloud-computing market is expected to grow to $51.9 billion by 2024.
- The patient engagement solutions market is projected to reach $18.68 billion by 2022, up from $7.49 billion in 2016.
By Doug DeLoach