diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases
and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world,
representing 60% of all deaths. To make matters worse, nearly 50 percent of
those seeking treatment for chronic illness do not adhere to the directed
regimens. In fact, non-adherence cause higher mortality rates, decreased
quality of life, and a higher rate of hospital re-admissions. According to the
CDC, non-adherence is estimated to cost between $100 billion to $289 billionannually in the US alone.
The startup Play-it Health is determined to lower the rates of medication non-adherence. The company has combined multiple resources and developed versatile and personalized digital solutions for both patients and doctors to help improve medication adherence and health engagement.
For patients, the startup provides innovative, easy, and fun solutions to improve medication adherence. They have created Plan-it Med, a mobile app that not only reminds patients when to take their medication, but communicate the importance of taking the medication and their various effects. The platform also offers reporting and analytics tools that allow doctors to track when patients fail to adhere to their medication. This give physicians the option to serve as digital coaches and encourage patients to stay on track, and even launch digital interventions when patients fail to adhere.
In addition, the company has developed HealthWords to engage patients to learn more about their health. It is a wordgame that use visual images, word play, and phrases to help the user guess words. Once the word has been selected, associated facts are presented. The app also allow social gaming, where individuals can compete for highest scores. The startup plan to develop more games, both platform and puzzle games, to increase patient engagement and adherence, and want to use Plan-it Med as a platform.
Play-it Health was founded by Kimberly Gandy, a Stanford and Duke trained cardiac surgeon and scientist, after recognizing that patients were having trouble engaging and adhering to their medical regimens. And although there are other digital solutions aimed at adherence management, like MediKeep, Play-it Health is differentiating themselves by customizing solutions for different population groups with different needs. Children need a different solution than adults in order to understand their health. Not to mention the ability it give physicians to monitor patients, and give them the opportunity to intervene.
The startup provide a low-cost solution to a growing market and trend of polypharmacy. While some might struggle to adhere to one prescription drug, the management of several is virtually impossible. Some drugs cannot be taken together, some needs to be taken with food, some are taken several times a day, and others become harmful due to another medical condition. Play-it Health is a smart and engaging solution, with the potential of helping many of the people struggling with non-adherence.
The startup was awarded funding from the 2015 Digital Health Challenge and is part of Iron Yard, one of the top-ranked digital health accelerators. Currently, the startup is running pilot programs with Duke University, Stanford University, Truman Medical Centers and several other organization.