SEATTLE, Sept. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Wellpepper, Inc., a developer of mobile healthcare engagement solutions, today announced that researchers from Harvard Medical School have chosen Wellpepper® as the patient engagement solution for a large-scale, remote care management study that launched this week. The two and a half year study, which is funded by a private family foundation, is focused on two primary areas: preventing disability in at-risk seniors and lowering costs of care. It is led by a research group at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliated hospital, in collaboration with researchers at Boston University and Brandeis University. 75 seniors who are at increased risk for developing disability will participate in the study. The study is designed to improve patient mobility skills as well as muscle strength, endurance and power and to decrease the risk for fall-related injuries such as hip fracture. Using mobile devices running Wellpepper's patient engagement solution, the seniors will receive care instructions and easy-to-follow, customized strengthening and exercise prescriptions, and they will engage in regular communications with their healthcare providers through the Wellpepper application.
"For older adults, a decline in mobility indicates a higher risk for disability, increased healthcare utilization and lower quality of life," said study lead, Jonathan Bean, MD, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. "Spaulding's Live Long Walk Strong program can decrease this risk, and by adding a digital component with Wellpepper we believe we can cost-effectively supply even better extended care."
Mobility problems often create challenges in access to care. According to the study investigators, 45% of patients who are given follow-up care referrals by their primary care physicians do not engage in or fully complete their outpatient care. A major reason for this lack of patient engagement is access to regular transportation. Wellpepper allows patients to receive their care plan on a mobile device, enabling them to check-in and communicate remotely with their healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals can adjust the program remotely, which helps keep patients engaged and decreases the need for in-person visits.
Without identification and intervention, decreased mobility skills can trigger additional issues for older adults, leading to less independence, increased healthcare usage, morbidity and even death. It is estimated that without new care paradigms specific to treating mobility limitations, these problems alone will add up to $42 billion in healthcare costs by 2040.
"This study is unique as it combines a novel patient intervention – digital patient care plans and communications – and an evaluation of costs," said Jennifer Perloff, PhD, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. "The findings have the potential to change how mobility care is provided and to broadly impact national healthcare reform initiatives."
Wellpepper was chosen for this study based on positive early results from a randomized Boston University clinical study that tracked Parkinson's patients. Preliminary results in that study, which is expected to publish in late 2015, show an increase in adherence and improvement in patient outcomes.
"Patients are more adherent to their care plans when the plans are personalized and easy-to-understand and when the patients have great relationships with their healthcare providers," said Wellpepper CEO, Anne Weiler. "We are excited to work with Dr. Bean and his team to help them extend their support of patients outside the clinic to deliver personalized care."
For more information about Wellpepper or to find out how the Wellpepper patient engagement solution can support value-based payment models, please visit http://www.wellpepper.com or email [email protected].
Wellpepper is a healthcare technology company that provides a clinically validated platform for digital treatment plans delivered via mobile devices. The Wellpepper patient engagement solution improves patient adherence and outcomes with its patent-pending adaptive notification system and just-in-time, task-based instructions and by fostering communication between healthcare providers and patients. Wellpepper is used by major health systems that are moving to an accountable care organization model and need to track and improve patient outcomes while lowering costs. Wellpepper was founded in 2012 to help healthcare organizations lower costs, improve outcomes and improve patient satisfaction. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.
About Spaulding Rehabilitation
The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network is a recognized leader in rehabilitative medicine in Eastern Massachusetts, in the United States, and across the globe. Spaulding's mission is to provide exceptional clinical care, promote medical education, and advance research.
About Boston University
Boston University is a private university located in Boston, Massachusetts and is a leader in medical education and research.
About Brandeis University
Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus.
Jennifer Allen Newton
Bluehouse Consulting Group, Inc.