Six new health apps aim to improve systems, awareness

By Dennis Clemente

How is an app good for your health? Last August 26, AOL Ventures hosted a meetup featuring six new health apps –
Healthcare Recovery Solutions (HRS), Personal Beasties, Sherpaa Health, Sense Health, Mobile Commons and Carewrite.

Jarrett Bauer of Healthcare Recovery Solutions presented first, talking about how HRS is helping hospitals and patients reduce congestive failure readmission through a research-based platform that constructively guides a patient’s behavior. Also, HRS is an outcome-based organization designed around using meaningful data.

“In general, hospitals have no time to delve into the details of a disease but with our app, anyone can read up and watch videos about their diseases,” he said, adding that even nurses spend only an average of seven minutes per patient.

HRS can provide content to hospitals with librarians in charge. At present, it has Hackensack and the Holy Name Medical Center as clients.

Paula Murgia and Jane Dowling came next with Personal Beasties Breathing, an app that aims to make it easier for users to take a few deep breaths—one that helps people go back to their calm, cool selves.

Both women look forward to getting some psychologists and colleges to use their app for kids, the demographic they are targeting, citing an Internet Addiction Disorder study back in 2011. Talk about using an app to curb an addiction?!

Next was Sherpaa’s Tracy Avin & Jay Parkinson who showed perhaps the most interesting app of the night, as they specialize in two things—first, they help companies het the right plan that matches their employees and second, they give employees 24/7 email and phone access to hired doctors.

“It’s like having a doctor in the family.” Parkinson said.

Are they replacing health insurance? Parkinson said that Sherpaa helps you find the best insurance plans, or use your current plan wisely. “We do not take money from health insurance companies or brokers. We do charge $50 a month per employee, but we save your company money throughout the year and year after year.”

But who pays for access to Sherpaa? The employer pays monthly, and employees can use the service as many times as necessary.

Next presenter, Ben Stein of Mobile Commons, empowers brands to increase sales and consumer engagement in the health care world. With the Affordable Care Act (the new health care plan) taking effect this October, Stein is looking to use text messaging to spread the word about the Care Act.

Stein said that 42 percent of Americans are unaware of the current status of the health law. With 48 million uninsured Americans and not many aware of the health law, he thinks a wide-scale awareness campaign is vital.

Stein came up with three things to make his campaign a success. These are 1) connect, the uninsured sign p to learn about health insurance via text messaging; 2) educate – subscribers receive text messages about health insurance marketplace; Enroll – starting October 1, consumers get alerts about open enrolment deadlines. The messages will be available in both English and Spanish.

Who is using this now? Stein said government, insurance provides, clinics and health care facilities. “We have partnerships between us and our developers and public health academics,” he said.

Stan Berkow of Sense Health took his turn in presenting how to deliver superior health support to clients. Like Mobile Commons, SenseHealth makes use of text messaging but calls his app a script, a schedule of text messages that supports people in between health care appointments.

The last presenter of the night was also the newest in the app world. Eva Luo spoke for Carewrite, a new venture winner out of Harvard University who is looking to equip 66 millions caregivers in the US a mobile tool to improve coordination and quality of care. This time, though, family and friends can join as caregivers—and what could better than keeping this free.

The newest of all the apps, Carewrite serves text reminders, central sharing of notes and searchable repository. “We will pursue licensing agreements with variety of healthcare institutions,” she said.

The meetup was organized by AOL Ventures with Amanda Moskowitz hosting.

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Dennis Clemente

Shuttling between New York and other US cities, Dennis writes about tech meetups when he's not too busy working as a Web Developer/Producer + UX Writer and Digital Marketer.

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