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Epharmix: Improve Health Outcomes With Just a Phone Number

by Avik Som, B.S., Ph.D

If you could ask patients any question you wanted, every single day, what would you ask? The Epharmix telemedicine platform facilitates patient-provider communication to improve health outcomes.

St. Louis, MO Health Information Technology

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About this project

The problem we solve:
In the current healthcare environment, physicians are under pressure to both improve the quality of life and reduce the cost of patient care. Telemedicine therapy has the potential to serve as a crucial lever for faster and higher quality medical care by allowing physicians to remotely collect and monitor patient data and improve physician-patient communication. If constructed properly, a telemedicine system may provide important clinical information from patients to reduce hospital readmissions, facilitate early intervention, prevent acute medical crises, and detect or avoid disease complications. However, collecting data from patients continues to be a challenge, with the latest in digital mobile health accessible primarily to the young, affluent, or digitally savvy. As a result, the 5% of patients that consume roughly 50% of health services generally have poor access to digital health portals due to lack of internet, data plans, or levels of comfort with digital health.

About our solution:
We have invented a rapidly scalable HIPAA-compliant technology platform, Epharmix, that is capable of converting the ubiquitous architecture of existing phone lines and SMS into an accurate biometric and symptom collecting tool for patients that is both free to the user and requires no installation. At the same time, as we go forward, the health care providers risk suffering from data “overload” from various sources, with confusion as to both the relevance and impact such mass quantities of data can have. The Epharmix technology platform uses supervised learning and the latest in clinical standards to take this symptomatic data, triage it, and produce fast, accurate predictions to allow physician interventions before adverse events occur. This combination of data science and technology allows us to effectively tackle one of the major causes of reduced quality of life and clinical outcomes: the lack of ongoing patient-provider contact.
Progress to date: Epharmix has so far been used with 1230 patients, exchanging over 46,000 SMS and phone calls between the underlying system and patients. Over 150 physicians have now responded or used Epharmix information, with implementation ongoing in 3 large health systems. Currently, 20 different disease specific text or phone based clinical tools exist, ranging from maternal health (breastfeeding and postpartum depression), to readmissions prevention (heart failure and COPD), and psychiatric (depression and substance abuse) interventions. We are currently enrolling patients for 5 randomized controlled trials studying the effects of Epharmix interventions on clinical outcomes such as hospitalizations and markers of health like blood glucose control, and quality of life. Preliminary data demonstrates 90% engagement rates via SMS and phone calls resulting in a 31% drop in hospitalizations, an average 40 point drop in blood glucose in 5 weeks, and a 61% drop in dyspnea alerts for COPD patients.

About Our Team


Avik Som, B.S., Ph.D
Medical Student, Medical Student
Location: Missouri
Medical school: Washington University in St. Louis
Bio: Hi everyone! I am a fourth year MD-Ph.D student at Washington University in St. Louis who has experience in clinical trials, translational medicine, biomedical engineering, and biomedical entrepreneurship. My goal is to transform the landscape of digital healthcare and patient outcomes through judicious use of technology and remote patient monitoring. I hope you can join us in this journey!
Title: Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder

About Team Members

Kunjan Patel
Independent Clinical Researcher, B.A.
Biography: Hi! I am a first year Medical Student at Saint Louis University School of Medicine who is looking to make an impact in digital healthcare and improve patient outcomes in a collaborative, interdisciplinary way. Epharmix is the technological manifestation of that vision, and I hope you can help support us!
Eric Sink
Independent Clinical Researcher, B.S.
Biography: Hi! I am also a first year medical student at Saint Louis University School of Medicine who is looking to make an impact in digital healthcare.

About Our Company


Epharmix
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Website: https://www.epharmix.com
Twitter: @epharmix
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Epharmix/1764191850474556
Other link: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/new-firm-lets-doctors-keep-tabs-on-patients-by-texting/article_beddb627-0c3d-5070-814c-0217bc43f2dc.html
Product stage: market
Sales: Less than $250,000
Employees: 5-10

How We Help Patients

Epharmix allows patients to connect with their physician on a day-to-day basis. For example, patients with diabetes receive daily messages asking them to check and report their blood sugar via phone or SMS. If the patient reports a critical value deemed to be hyper or hypoglycemic, an alert is immediately sent to the patient’s physician prompting them to follow-up and provide appropriate consultation. In this way, Epharmix serves both as a “buddy system” for many of the patients who use it and improves clinical outcomes. Initial results, for example, from the diabetes intervention shows a 40-point drop in blood glucose after five weeks with 90% of patients reporting an improved connection with their doctor and in more control of their health. Epharmix empowers patients to make the best decisions for their wellbeing and offers support when they are in need of serious intervention.

How We Help Education

Epharmix is a transformative population health management tool that is quickly gaining the attention of providers within Saint Louis and the nation. As medicine shifts to a value-based care model, Epharmix is an essential tool to learn how to efficiently manage populations of patients without sacrificing personal interactions or lowering the quality of care. Today’s physicians, especially younger physicians, have the opportunity to embrace this shift in paradigm and take advantage of Epharmix to help them better manage their patients and do so without compromising financial incentives. Results show that Epharmix increases both the number of interactions between doctor and patient, albeit automated, and the quality of care delivered. Ultimately, Epharmix furthers physician education and the transition of medical care into the 21st century by providing physicians the latest digital resource to aid them in patient management and identification of high-risk patients

How We Help Physicians

Physicians face a unique challenge in the healthcare setting today: they are under pressure to care for their patients, minimize adverse medical events, and do so under extreme time-constraints. Given the current economic structure of healthcare reimbursements and shift towards value-based care, this balance of improving patient outcomes under time constraints is difficult to achieve. Epharmix meets both of these challenges by using smart data monitoring that automatically triages the patient data to indicate which patients are doing well and who needs the most attention. The system fits into standard prescription based workflows of physicians and requires no additional IT infrastructure. Lastly, to incentivize physician adoption, the infrastructure includes automated components that aid the implementation of a fee for service telemedicine code, CPT 99490, chronic care management, for practices, allowing an increase in revenue.

Challenge Mission

Mission: Our solution aims to establish the Standard of Care in digital medicine to improve outcomes for any patient.
Use of funds: If Epharmix is honored with an AMA prize, the funds will be used to facilitate the randomized controlled trials of our telemedicine interventions. Epharmix currently is conducting IRB-approved studies at Washington University in Saint Louis. To expand and validate the finding, the project requires research funding to finance our text message and phone call based platform, compensate the research staff, and build support for a multi-center research agenda.
Intellectual Property Status: Intellectual property developed here is primarily copyright development, and is wholly owned by Epharmix, Inc.
FDA Status: Epharmix is a communication tool that does not provide any direct medical advice. As such, Epharmix tools are primarily regulated by the FCC, and include protections for HIPAA and TCPA compliance. The solution will not include anything that requires FDA approval.
Personal Message: Very few, if any, telemedicine interventions are rigorously tested through academic trials. Our goal is to show that each of our telemedicine systems is effective through a rigorous clinical trial that will continue to analyze and validate the interventions. To do so, we need your votes. Help establish establish the Standard of Care in digital medicine. Vote for better patient outcomes. Vote for Epharmix.

Supporters

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    06/08/2016 JOSEPH CRAFT - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    06/08/2016 JOSEPH CRAFT - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/20/2016 Rina Amatya - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/20/2016 Craig Yugawa - Medical Student

    Interested in other factor.

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    05/20/2016 Antoinette Hu - Medical Student

    Interested in partnership.

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    05/20/2016 Ms. Erica Barnell - Medical Student

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/20/2016 Ms. Erica Barnell - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/20/2016 Antoinette Hu - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/20/2016 Craig Yugawa - Medical Student

    Interested in piloting the project.

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    05/20/2016 Ms. Erica Barnell - Medical Student

    Interested in mentorship.

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    05/20/2016 John Ekman - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/20/2016 Antoinette Hu - Medical Student

    Interested in other factor.

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    05/20/2016 Craig Yugawa - Medical Student

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/20/2016 Ms. Erica Barnell - Medical Student

    Interested in partnership.

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    05/20/2016 Craig Yugawa - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

  • image
    05/20/2016 Craig Yugawa - Medical Student

    Interested in mentorship.

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    05/20/2016 Ms. Erica Barnell - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/20/2016 Antoinette Hu - Medical Student

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/20/2016 Craig Yugawa - Medical Student

    Interested in partnership.

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    05/20/2016 John Ekman - Medical Student

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/20/2016 Antoinette Hu - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/20/2016 Ms. Erica Barnell - Medical Student

    Interested in piloting the project.

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    05/20/2016 Rina Amatya - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/20/2016 Craig Yugawa - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/20/2016 Antoinette Hu - Medical Student

    Interested in mentorship.

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    05/19/2016 Andy Garvin - Engineer

    Interested in other factor.

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    05/19/2016 Mary Ising - Medical Student

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/19/2016 Mary Ising - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/19/2016 Lewis Tian - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

  • image
    05/19/2016 Mary Ising - Medical Student

    Interested in mentorship.

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    05/19/2016 Andy Garvin - Engineer

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/19/2016 Andy Garvin - Engineer

    Interested in partnership.

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    05/19/2016 Andy Garvin - Engineer

    Followed the project.

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    05/19/2016 Justin Newman - Healthcare Innovator

    Liked the project.

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    05/19/2016 Avik Som - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/19/2016 Andy Garvin - Engineer

    Interested in mentorship.

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    05/19/2016 Mary Ising - Medical Student

    Interested in piloting the project.

  • image
    05/19/2016 Mary Ising - Medical Student

    Interested in other factor.

  • image
    05/19/2016 Lewis Tian - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

  • image
    05/19/2016 Mary Ising - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/19/2016 Andy Garvin - Engineer

    Interested in piloting the project.

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    05/17/2016 Blake Marggraff - Entrepeneur

    Interested in other factor.

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    05/17/2016 Christine Stavridis - Other

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/17/2016 Andy Garvin - Engineer

    Liked the project.

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    05/17/2016 Avik Som - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/17/2016 Annelise Mah - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/17/2016 Annelise Mah - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/17/2016 Christine Stavridis - Other

    Interested in mentorship.

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    05/17/2016 Keyin Lu - Medical Student

    Interested in piloting the project.

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    05/17/2016 Keyin Lu - Medical Student

    Interested in partnership.

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    05/17/2016 Blake Marggraff - Entrepeneur

    Interested in trying the project.

  • image
    05/17/2016 Keyin Lu - Medical Student

    Interested in other factor.

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    05/17/2016 Kavon Javaherian - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/17/2016 Blake Marggraff - Entrepeneur

    Followed the project.

  • image
    05/17/2016 Keyin Lu - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

  • image
    05/17/2016 Keyin Lu - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/17/2016 Christine Stavridis - Other

    Interested in piloting the project.

  • image
    05/17/2016 Christine Stavridis - Other

    Interested in partnership.

  • image
    05/17/2016 Christine Stavridis - Other

    Interested in other factor.

  • image
    05/17/2016 Blake Marggraff - Entrepeneur

    Liked the project.

  • image
    05/17/2016 Keyin Lu - Medical Student

    Interested in trying the project.

  • image
    05/17/2016 Christine Stavridis - Other

    Liked the project.

  • image
    05/17/2016 Christine Stavridis - Other

    Followed the project.

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    05/17/2016 Huy Lam - Entrepeneur

    Liked the project.

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    05/17/2016 Keyin Lu - Medical Student

    Interested in mentorship.

17

likes

13

Follows

0

Pilots

0

Partners

106

Interest
Score

9

Adoption
Score


Avik Som, B.S., Ph.D
Medical Student
Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder
Washington University in St. Louis

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