By continuously monitoring and gamifying adherence (both exercise and medication) routines using the Alexa voice assistant, Vesta brings the whole family together to support the patient’s heart failure recovery while also supporting individual members' health goals.
Project Slide Deck - https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/gopislides/VestaPresentation_gs_final_v1.pdf
Problem Being Solved
Over 40 million people globally suffer from some form of heart failure. Nearly all care management programs available to patients after a heart failure are geared towards managing the damage to the heart -- they rarely addresses the emotional and psychological needs of the patients. There are multiple peer-reviewed publications to show that patients whose psychological needs aren't met are less adherent to their medication and exercise routines, hence reducing their quality of life drastically.
What it does/Description of Solution
Vesta helps the patient and the family maintain their quality of life as they transition from a hospital to long-term care at home. It also brings the whole family together to support the patient’s heart failure recovery while also supporting their individual members' health goals. The care-provider and the physicians work with the patient and their family to set up Vesta with their ideal short and long-term goals. Every day, the patient and his family sit down together and play the game using Alexa. Vesta asks each family member interesting trivia questions about each other's health, fitness, and goal-progress. The application also has provisions to monitor the patient and their family's goals on a weekly basis and report patient anomalies to the healthcare provider.
Vision and Value Proposition
- Low Technology Barrier: Gamifying the experience using Alexa allows users of all age groups to actively participate.
- Improved Adherence: As vitals, medications and goals are monitored on a daily basis, patients are more aware and accountable for their health status.
- Healthier Family: Improves the emotional and physical health of all family members by encouraging active participation and reaching for their health goals.
- Timely Intervention: As vitals are monitored daily, any adverse events or measurements that are out of range can immediately be reported to the care providers.
How we built it/The Product (Description of the Technology)
We developed an Android app where patients and their family can create a group account while signing in using their MyFitnessPal accounts. We use MyFitnessPal APIs within Vesta to monitor and get regular updates of demographic and vital information for each of the family's members. The goals and schedule for the patients are set by the care provider, while the other family members can use the goals provided through their MyFitnessPal accounts. We have also used publicly available datasets from CDC and NIH to help determine baselines for patients and family members.
Challenges we ran into
Our biggest challenge was figuring out the best ways to gamify patient adherence routines while keeping the application simple and easy to use for people of all ages. Most vital monitoring apps currently are so complex that patients, who are already under severe stress, stop using them within a few days after use, thereby stopping all monitoring regarding their health status. The main reason for us choosing a family-goal vs patient-only-goals was that we believe family is the biggest contributors for the emotional state of the patient.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Recognizing that the role family plays in the recovery process of a patient
What we learned
Our biggest learning was that there are over 40 million people globally who suffer from some form of heart failure. Nearly all treatment modality is geared towards medication that manages the damage to the heart, but rarely addresses the emotional and physiological needs of the patients. Our solution tries to address this issue by making the patient recovery a family goal vs a patient's goal thereby helping a speedy recovery.
What's next for Vesta/How Will Winning the Novartis TechCrunch Hackathon Help You?
- Reporting – Building the necessary infrastructure to enable reporting patient’s vital directly the care provider
- Pre-defined Goals: Working with physicians to develop pre-defined challenges and goals based on patient’s timeline and current state
- More Games and Challenges: Identify and evaluate more gaming systems that would provide similar accountability and adherence
- Community Outreach: Developing infrastructure needed to enable chat and community within the apps so that patients people can share their experiences and stories