Consumers may be taking a more active role in managing their health by gathering data through wearable devices, smart scales, glucose meters and other health tracking devices, but little of that data finds its way to healthcare providers because the devices used to collect it are not connected to the healthcare system.
But digital healthcare start-up Validic and software developer SAP SE are looking to change that trend by using a shared digital health platform to connect health tracking devices and applications used outside a clinical setting to healthcare providers.
The SAP Connected Health platform provides real-time analysis of health data from a variety of sources, including health tracking devices and apps used by consumers. Validic enables SAP and its global healthcare clients to access patient data from clinical devices, wearables and consumer health applications. Having a broad set of patient data integrated into one system will allow healthcare providers to better analyze a patient’s health, resulting in personalized treatment options, says Validic chief marketing officer Chris Edwards.
“Leveraging and integrating patient-generated health data is becoming a market necessity for healthcare, wellness and life science organizations aiming to improve the health of their populations,” Edwards says. “The strategic relationship with SAP will help fuel the use of actionable data from clinical remote monitoring devices, wearables and health applications.”
Validic’s digital health platform can connect more than 300 health tracking devices used by consumers to hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies and health insurers. Validic connects those devices to healthcare providers using several methods including application programming interfaces and software development kits. APIs facilitate communication among applications, including updated mobile apps for iPhones and iPads, and for wireless devices that work on the Android operating system.
As data is captured from a device it is formatted so it can be imported into a dashboard, web portal, electronic health records system or other healthcare information technology systems. Validic’s platform is HIPAA compliant. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, is a law that aims to ensure the confidentiality of patient medical records.
“One of the biggest challenges in healthcare is integrating patient data from tools like Fitbit and home health monitoring systems into the health system,” says Greg Caressi, senior vice president, Healthcare & Life Sciences practice for Frost & Sullivan. “Validic is extending data collection within the health system to outside the hospital and doctor’s offices. SAP has a platform, but is not a healthcare data expert and is turning to Validic to bring patient data from outside the health system into its Connected Health platform.”
Validic’s customers include Kaiser Permanente, wellness program provider The Vitality Group, and Everyday Health Inc., which operates wellness websites. Validic’s claims its customer base reaches more than 223 million consumers.
Earlier this year Validic introduced VitalSnap, a set of mobile libraries that its customers can embed in a mobile app to capture data from a non-connected medical device using a smartphone’s camera. VitalSnap uses optical character recognition to capture data from non-connected devices.
To capture a health reading, patients open their health app, hold their smartphone over the non-connected device and snap a picture of the information displayed on the device’s screen. Next, patients are asked questions to put the data into context, such as whether the data shared is about what they just ate. VitalSnap sends the data to Validic where it is shared with the patient’s healthcare providers “There are a lot of devices used by consumers to track their health that have no back-end connectivity to the health system,” Caressi says. “VitalSnap lets healthcare providers get at data from those devices.”
Validic charges its customers a licensing fee for VitalSnap, but declines to discuss pricing for VitalSnap or its other services.
Eventually Validic’s platform could make it possible to expand patient participation in clinical trials by using remote monitoring devices to gather data, Caressi says. In addition, remote devices can open the door for medical researchers to track data previously not accessible outside a clinical setting, such as patient rest and activity cycles. Validic has worked with Stanford Health Care and pharmaceutical company Quintiles Transnational Inc. on clinical trials
“Remote monitoring allows clinical research organizations to expand the patient population in the trial and get better and more frequent data,” Caresssi says. “It’s a potential game changer.”