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Jul 21, 2014

Stan Berkow is co-founder and CEO of Sense Health, a NYC-based healthcare startup focused on delivering superior health support to underserved patient groups. Prior to Sense Health, his passion for better understanding health and behavior brought him to the Columbia University Medical Center, where he coordinated clinical trials in the Department of Behavioral Medicine. His experience at Columbia highlighted the immense gaps in care patients receive and led him to pursue his interest in improving people's health using technology and design. A firm believer that technology will only improve healthcare when infused with empathy, humanity, and great design, he is focused on creating products that connect providers and patients while still taking into account the unique needs and constraints of both groups. Stan contributes on the Huffington Post and holds a BA in neuroscience from Bowdoin College. 


4:00 - Stan's start as a clinical trial coordinator.

4:36 - What exactly is SenseHealth? It's a texting platform dedicated to helping providers maintain consistent communications with their patients in order to improve patient accountability in an efficient way from the provider standpoint that fits into patient lifestyles.

6:00 - An interactive dialog between providers and patients, but which fits cleanly within the provider workflow by creating the conversations ahead of time.

7:42 - Does opening up a new communication channel create an overload of information that descends upon providers at inconvenient hours? Inherently connecting providers to patients will open up a new communication channel, and opening up a new communication channel will mean a rise of communications. SenseHealth strives to streamline the flow of the conversation to automate what can be automated, but deliver information that requires a clinician.

10:00 - Basic questions about chronic care, motivational messages, messages designed to change behavior. The combinations of messages that drive behavior change.

11:30 - How does a nurse or doctor get a patient into the SenseHealth system and who is appropriate. SenseHealth focuses on the high-risk medicaid population. The nurse or doctor enrolls during an office visit. Gaining opt-in.

13:09 - Focus on depression & mental health, cardiovascular concerns like hypertension and heart failure, diabetes and obesity.

13:51 - Preconfigured care plans are tailored around where a patient is around being "activated" a psychological construct designed to reduce the cost of engage a patient to improve outcomes.

15:21 - Sense Health undergoes a randomized control trial that tests the technology in a clinical setting with Universal Behavioral Associates, a part of Montefiore Health System. 

16:47 - Randomized trial results. Significant improvements in patient knowledge, confidence, remembering to come to appointments, to follow care plans, to refill prescriptions. (self-reported).

19:00 - Improving adherence details.

20:23 - The difficulties of getting quantitative data at the provider level. It is more possible on the payer side because claims data is available.

21:51 - Stan's entrepreneurial journey unfolded in more of a "one thing leads to another" fashion then any sort of grand scheme.

22:50 - Honing on a specific group of patients helped differentiate SenseHealth. They also spent a lot of time working on the provider interface and user experience.

24:00 - Why SenseHealth started within the Medicaid population. Through the Affordable Care Act, a number of resources are being allocated to improve the management of high-cost members.

25:10 - The hypothesis that SenseHealth enables case managers to manage more patients. This could be important because there's currently a crunch to increase the capacity of case managers to handle expanding case loads.

Automating the repeatable tasks in a manner that is much more human for the patient receiving support and in a way that connects the provider so that a clinician is there when needed.

27:00 The big concern around regulations and text messages. Text messages are non-encrypted so there are privacy concerns. For private communications, texting is not an appropriate communicate channel. SenseHealth has a well-defined opt-in policy to comply with regulations as well as safeguards to insure that private information is not sent inadvertently by a provider.

30:00 As new technologies roll out, early stage companies focus on a feature-- one aspect of what a health organization needs to be doing, but not all encompassing. And then they add a feature at a time. Buyers should make sure that tech companies have the capacity to expand into new areas of the clinical workflow. Evaluate which early stage companies can grow with the needs.

32:52 - The pros and cons of being a tech entrepreneur in the healthcare space. 

"There's a social good that comes from our work."

34:16 - Expanding out our features to fulfill different engagement areas with current customers and work with managed care organizations and ultimately reach our goals to support more patients.
Montefiore Behavioral health Center: