Reimagining Patient Education and Treatment Delivery through Gamification

Imagine walking into a doctors office to find out you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness. All of a sudden, you have a slew of diverse healthcare appointments, ongoing medication or lifestyle adjustments, lots of education about the condition and more. While in the clinic/hospital, you can at least ask the doctor questions and try to make sense of your condition & management plan. But once you leave to go home, you’re left largely on your own.

We found that there is a significant disconnect between physicians and patients after patients are discharged and diagnosed with a particular condition. Physicians will hand patients a piece of paper with suggested items to follow as part of a "treatment plan". But after this diagnosis meeting, it is hard for the physicians to keep up-to-date with their patients on the progress of the plan. The result? Not surprisingly, patients quickly fall off and don’t adhere to their treatment plans, costing the healthcare system upwards of $300 billion as they get readmitted due to worsening conditions that may have been prevented.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

We're building an engaging end-to-end experience for patients managing chronic conditions, starting with one of the most prevalent ones - diabetes. More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes

How does Glucose Guardian Work?

Glucose Guardian is a scalable way to gamify education for chronic conditions using an existing clinical technique called “teachback” (see here- link). We plan to partner with clinics and organizations, scrape their existing websites/documents where they house all their information about the chronic condition, and instantly convert that into short (up to 2 min) voice modules.

Glucose Guardian users can complete these short, guided, voice-based modules that teach and validate their understanding of their medical condition. Participation and correctness earn points which go towards real-life rewards for which we plan to partner with rewards organizations/corporate programs.

Glucose Guardian users can also go to the app to enter their progress on various aspects of their personalized treatment plan. Their activity on this part of the app is also incentive-driven.

This is inspired by current non-health solutions our team has had experience with using very low barrier audio-driven games that have been proven to drive user engagement through the roof.

How we built it

We've simplified how we can use gamification to transform patient education & treatment adherence by making it more digestible and fun. We ran through some design thinking sessions to work out how we could create a solution that wouldn’t simply look great but could be implemented clinically and be HIPAA compliant.

We then built Glucose Guardian as a native iOS application using Swift. Behind the scenes, we use Python toolkits to perform some of our text matching for patient education modules, and we utilize AWS for infrastructure needs.

Challenges we ran into

It was difficult to navigate the pre-existing market of patient adherence apps and create a solution that was unique and adaptable to clinical workflow. To tackle this, we dedicated ample time to step through user journeys - patients, physicians and allied health professionals. Through this strategy, we identified education as our focus because it is critical to treatment adherence and a patient-centric solution.

We're proud of this

We've built something that has the potential to fulfill a large unmet need in the healthcare space, and we're excited to see how the app is received by beta testers, healthcare partners, and corporate wellness organizations.

Learning Points

Glucose Guardian has given our cross-disciplined team the chance to learn more about the intersection of software + healthcare. Through developing speech-to-text features, designing UIs, scraping data, and walking through patient journeys, we've maximized our time to learn as much as possible in order to deliver the biggest impact.

Looking Ahead

As per the namesake, so far we've implemented one use case (diabetes) but are planning to expand to many other diseases. We'd also like to continue building other flows beyond patient education. This includes components such as the gamified digital treatment plan which can utilize existing data from wearables and wellness apps to provide a consolidated view on the patient's post-discharge health. Beyond that, we also see potential for our platform to serve as a treasure trove of data for clinical research and medical training. We're excited to keep building and keep creating more impact.

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