Despite the seemingly numerous, healthy marathon runners on your Facebook news feed, there are actually a lot of not-so-healthy/sick people out there. According to Kimberly Gandy, there are more than 150 million people in the United States alone that require the use of chronic medication to treat their ills. Setting aside the many flaws that already plague America’s healthcare system, consider this: even in an advanced, Western country – such as the United States – where access to information is limitless and technology abounds, nearly 50 percent of those seeking treatment for chronic illnesses don’t adhere to the directed regimens. For Gandy, this is a huge issue, and it’s a problem that she’s attempting to alleviate through Play-it Health.
“We’ve devised a unique and comprehensive adherence solution utilizing the breadth of mobile resources: smart phone apps, eBooks and games,” said Gandy, Play-it Health’s founder and CEO. “We’re trying to improve the quality of life of millions by really making health care more enjoyable and understandable.”
Play-it Health is a startup that offers solutions for both patients and doctors to help improve medication adherence. By utilizing the power of mobile and the Internet, the company has created a unique set of tools and resources to get patients to stick to the recommended/required timing, dosage, and frequency of medication intake.
Unlike other problems in our health care system (i.e. essentially everything that deals with health insurance) on both the patient and clinician sides, there are actually actionable solutions we can take to improve medication adherence rates. By simply improving on our current methods, we can flip the negative effects associated with medication non-adherence, including higher death rates (it’s estimated that non-adherence causes between 30 and 50 percent of all treatment failures, with 125,000 annual deaths) , decreased quality of life, and a higher rate of hospital re-admissions. According to Gandy, all of the problems associated with such non-adherence takes up 11 percent of the America’s annual health care budget (with costs estimated to fall between $100 billion to $289 billion annually).
For patients, the company provides innovative, easy, and fun solutions to improve medication adherence. Firstly, they offer Plan-it Med (currently available for iOS), a simple mobile app that provides patients not only with a tool that reminds when to take their medication, but also educates them in plain language the importance of taking such medication and their various effects. Secondly, Play-it Health has HealthWords (currently only for Android), a word game app that further engages patients in learning even more about their health. Most importantly, the company’s Play-it Med is the platform through which they build these rewarding games to increase patient engagement and adherence – from platformer games to puzzle games Play-it Health has a lot up its sleeve. On the education side, the company also produces several e-books for patients to better understand the complexities of their medical conditions.
On the clinician side, Play-it Health offers reporting and analytics tools that allow them to track when patients fail to adhere to their medication. Their platform also allows clinicians to serve as a digital coach and encourage patients to stay on track, and even allow them to launch digital interventions when patients do in fact turn to non-adherence. Through these solutions, Play-it Health is able to provide low-cost, continuous access to care and access to clinicians from the comfort of their home.
By combining better practices with technology solutions, Play-it Health is determined to lower the rates of medication nonadherence across the globe.
In July, Play-it Health released Plan-it Med on iOS. The company was most recently featured at Tech Cocktail’s Kansas City Mixer & Startup Showcase.