Specializations in care delivery are a natural evolution but they have the side effect of increasingly partitioning processes and, in turn, increasing cost and complexity of coordination. When patient care changes hands, it becomes susceptible to errors and communication failures. ‘Transitions of Care‘ is the broader topic that covers problems that arise when patient moves between different care settings: between primary care physicians, hospital-based physicians, specialists, home-based caregivers, and others.
HealthLoop was founded by Jordan Shlain, MD to address outpatient transition to home-based care. The service is in very early stages, and the site explains little about exactly what it provides. All I could find was “… (it) enables medical practices to efficiently monitor signs and symptoms, and communicate with patients during the recovery process“. So I’m guessing the core is case management and communication functionality, with perhaps some way for patient to input their vitals (hopefully it’s not manual data entry). Healthloop is in the embryonic stages, so I won’t attempt to read the tealeaves any further.
Potential issues for HealthLoop are low barrier to entry and powerful incumbents. If they choose to pursue, big EHR vendors can potentially create a much more comprehensive and integrated solution for care transition management. Today the inpatient/outpatient care is digitally captured in EHRs anyway, and theoretically comes coupled with PHRs. So care transition becomes one of the natural value propositions of the EHR- continuum. Besides EHRs, HIEs are the other upcoming intermediary that may find this space relevant. It makes business sense for HIEs to offer care transition management as a paid-service.
The underlying space of care transition is valid enough that startups in this space have a chance to be viable. Especially given that currently very few EHRs or HIEs are explicitly and completely tackling it.
PS: Read more about care transitions on the National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC) website.
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