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Archimedes, Inc., whose tagline is "quantifying healthcare," is staying true to its namesake, the Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer for whom no detail seemed too small, no problem too big to be solved by the right algorithm.
The San Francisco-based company whose core technology, the Archimedes Model, is touted as a clinically realistic, mathematical model of human physiology, diseases, interventions and healthcare systems, has recently received attention for IndiGO, a decision support tool designed for use by physicians and other healthcare providers, such as nurses, care managers, health coaches – and, now, patients.
Company officials say IndiGO uses advanced algorithms to analyze person-specific health information and predict the risks of adverse health outcomes and point out the benefits of adherence to medication and lifestyle changes.
Since November, three health centers have deployed IndiGO: MyHealth Access Network in Tulsa, Okla., the Colorado Beacon Consortium and Fairview Health Services in Minnesota. Kaiser Permanente, which used IndiGO in a pilot study, plans to expand its use in Southern California.
Soon, through new consumer apps, the capability will be put into the hands of patients.
In writing about the government-sponsored innovation event Datapalooza in a White House blog last June, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said Archimedes gives "physicians the ability to create optimized care regimens for patients based on the most up to date research and information available." At Datapalooza, Archimedes won "The Best of Care Applications" award for IndiGO.
The award, says Josh Adler, vice president of Archimedes and IndiGO business leader, "represents further recognition of the value of clinical decision support, delivered at the point of patient care."
He says IndiGO drives better patient engagement and increases adherence, leading to improved outcomes and lower costs.
That’s how it’s working for Gregory C. Reicks, DO, who uses the IndiGO tool in tandem with his EHR to help patients take charge of their own health – or at least to persuade them to take baby steps to better health. IndiGO takes data from his EHR, including demographic and clinical information such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and puts it all into an algorithm. Based upon clinical evidence, it predicts risks for that particular patient in a graphical format.
At a glance, patients can see what certain interventions, such as taking a statin, or an ace inhibitor, quitting smoking, lowering their hemoglobin A1C by one point, exercising more and losing weight, might do.
“They see the risk in a bar-graph format, let’s say dropping from 10 percent to 5 percent – and that seems to have quite a bit of impact on patients and their willingness to follow my recommendations,” Reicks said.
During the first month of using IndiGO, Reicks ¬– who is part of the Colorado Beacon IndiGO pilot and on the executive committee of the Colorado Beacon Consortium – has increased the number of patients using IndiGo from 40 to 80, and plans to introduce more to the tool.
“I also can show the patients what the risk would be if he were not taking a certain medication," Reicks said. “It’s helped also in compliance. I’m convinced that it’s been really helpful in my practice."
To Adler, IndiGO is working just as intended – it's improving the lives of those with chronic conditions, which also happens to drive down healthcare costs, all accomplished by having meaningful patient discussions at the point of care. If an app can directly put that graphical information directly into the patients’ hands, he says, that, too, is bound to drive up the actions people take to reduce their health risks.
As he sees it, it’s about “risks and choices, and a better sense of ownership.”
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