The inspiration behind assessURhealth™ is to help both patients and providers better assess and recognize vital mental and behavioral health needs often overlooked in today’s medical landscape.
First and foremost, we founded this company to help clinicians identify the signs and symptoms of mental health needs before they develop into life changing issues. Our founders were personally affected by close friends or family committing suicide, and acknowledged that better preventive care, and earlier confrontation of these diseases, was needed worldwide. Staggering statistics support the value of preventive assessments; one in five adults experiencing mental illness in a given year, and suicide reigning as the fourth leading cause of death in adults 18-65.
The second major inspiration behind assessURhealth™ was the ROI to providers. Not only does the application help patients, but through reimbursable screenings, improved efficiency and patient engagement, and indirect ROI such as reduced return to hospital rates the software can boost struggling independent physician practices, reduce overall healthcare costs and contribute to better patient-provider relationships.
Lastly, we hope to aid in a better understanding and acceptance of mental healthcare currently obscured through stigma and bias. Working to end the stigma, our organization advocates for better mental healthcare in Washington D.C. and pledges to contribute to changing the mindset of both providers and the public toward mental & behavioral health diseases.
What it does
assessURhealth™ is a HIPAA compliant patient-driven mental and behavioral health assessment tool, providing an iPad interface for patients to complete questionnaires on opioid risk, alcohol misuse, depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms. Additional custom screenings include post-natal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For each patient that completes the assessURhealth™ questionnaires, all sourced from the World Health Organization, clinicians are given a color-coded report that ranks their health risk for each assessment based on proprietary algorithms built into the application itself. These results are delivered either directly into the providers EHR software or via HIPAA-secure email. Providers can then better identify patient needs, engage patients in their own results, and determine the best next steps. The reports also provide needed documentation for billing while reducing resources needed if providers previously completed paper versions of the assessments.
How we built it
Our Chief Architect, Mallory Tai Taylor, developed the application interface using industry best practices and World Health Organizations sourced surveys. Using a familiar iPad® interface and intuitive processes, the application was built on an end to end HIPAA compliant easy to use platform that aids in better patient experiences and back end provider data. Creating a color coded and number ranked summary report allows providers to know patient’s risk at a glance, instead of wading through data to identify patient needs.
Challenges we ran into:
assessURhealth™ The biggest challenges we ran into was avoiding "survey fatigue" while maintaining HIPAA compliance. Ensuring that the assessments could be completed efficiently, parsed on our server, and delivered to the clinicians in less than 90 seconds was critical to the adoption of the product.
Another challenge assessURhealth™ worked through in the development phase was truly making our application as accessible as possible while staying HIPAA-compliant, and meeting all requirements to get the application hosted through the Apple App Store. As a published app, the software is easily accessible and downloadable to clients, helping to reach our mission of empowering clinicians globally.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Knowing the value and true need in the medical community for better assessment tools, we developed this application in the span of 2 months. From inception to the current product, we kept the development of assessURhealth™ in house to truly translate our vision to reality in every detail of the final interface. Taking the complete process in house meant developing the needed skills to create a fully secure product, and to optimize our platform for the end user experience. We are incredibly proud of how far our team has come, and the impact we have already made on users of the product.
Hearing from our clients how much of an impact the product has made is an even greater accomplishment. Knowing how many patients we have helped, and hearing from our providers what a difference the product has made, is the most rewarding part of our work. In our first year, over 100,000 mental health assessments have been completed using our application.
One of our early adopters, Dr. Regina Benjamin, 18th U.S. Surgeon General, has used the assessURhealth™ product in her own practice, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-alike, to gain better patient health data. As an early user of the product, Dr. Benjamin advocates for proactive assessments and a greater focus on mental & behavioral healthcare. She is thrilled to work with assessURhealth™ toward enhanced patient and clinician relationships to emphasize and encourage accountable care.
What we learned
For many, the mental & behavioral health space still comes with an unavoidable stigma. Getting our product in front of providers and delivering the value of preventive screenings has taught us what an impact the history of stigma has made on the medical and public communities. We’re working with renewed zeal to overcome these stigmas, and get mental healthcare back to a place of importance in the healthcare industry.
We’ve also learned the difficulties and challenges of getting a new product to be accepted and implemented. Building a critical mass of supporters and advocates, and working to beta test the product, has taught us the importance of being fluid in the health IT space and continually streamlining processes and systems until they work perfectly. We’re proud of our adaptability and accomplishments in this arena, and where our company is today from just a short year ago.
What's next for assessURhealth
As we continually improve our product, we will be working on an update of our user interface, further streamlining the questionnaire progression as well as look and feel. We will also work to improve the clinician side of the application, including adding a mental and behavioral professional referral tool as well as implementing additional languages beyond English and Spanish. In our future planning, we hope to take the product to a business to consumer platform and further expand the value we can provide to users. We are also looking to expand our reach outside the United States and take our product international.