ContextMedia Believes In Improving Health Outcomes At Scale

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Engage, Science of Story October 26, 2016

ContextMedia Believes In Improving Health Outcomes At Scale

Andy Swindler
Conscious businesses prosper through purpose-driven people-first practices, but many still struggle to tell their courageous stories. I help connect the dots.

Imagine this visit to your doctor’s office. Let’s say she’s a cardiologist who is helping you manage your heart health. After signing in, you sit down in the waiting room and begin reading the latest information about heart health on a mobile device. You start thinking about what you’ve read and jot down some questions for your doctor. Some minutes later, you’re in the examination room where you use a touch device with an interactive platform to navigate the system and learn more about your heart.

skullDuring your search you find a healthy recipe you’d like to email to yourself. By now, you’ve added a couple more items to discuss with your physician. When she comes in you ask your questions and, to help illustrate a point, your doctor turns to a 32-inch digital touch screen wallboard and brings up a 3D anatomical diagram of the heart. She begins to rotate and mark the diagram and, to further illustrate her explanation, pinches and zooms in on a particular section of the heart. At the end of your visit, your questions have been answered and you have a much better understanding of what you need to do to maintain your health. When you get home, you find the recipe in your email and make it for dinner that night.

Is this collaborative consultation a science fictional vision of the future? Not if you’re one of 30 million patients at one of the physician offices that are currently using ContextMedia, whose mission is to deliver patient education when and where it matters. And their Why, improving health outcomes at scale, reflects that higher purpose. They want to use their technology to promote better health outcomes for increasing numbers of patients. According to Communications Lead, Phillip De Guzman “We let that mission inform all of our work. Our goal is to curate patients’ consultation with their physicians.”

hospitalAnd while it’s true that the internet is full of sites that provide health information, it’s difficult to know how accurate that information is or how familiar your physician is with it. ContextMedia controls all of the content on their devices and physicians choose which information is offered in their office. Every practice has its own content. To ensure that the content they provide is accurate, ContextMedia has partnered with 80 leading content organizations such as the American Lung Association, American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association to name a few. They produce 40% of the medical content in-house including 150-200 videos they shoot in the field. Their content is specific to each of the 15-20 medical specialties with which they are currently working so they can provide physicians, office staff, nurses, patients and caregivers with the most accurate information possible. In the future, they hope to partner with pharmacies.

Is this approach working? It is. ContextMedia used different metrics to measure their impact and they have seen incremental improvement against their control group. They looked into what content the patients read while they were waiting and what content they brought up with their doctors as well as how often they brought up that content with their doctors. Most importantly, they wanted to find out how many patents’ health really improved. One specific measurement they used was to find out how many patients got their prescriptions filled. A less scientific, although definitely more heartwarming measurement, was feedback from their physicians.

One particular letter from the account manager in a cardiologist’s office was especially gratifying. It reads, “Hey everyone, we had a patient come in and he watched the cardio information with his doctor. At home, he realized he was having a heart attack and went to the hospital where he had a bypass surgery that saved his life.”

visitThat letter was not just gratifying to Shradha Agarwal and Rishi Shah, founders of the company. It was the fulfillment of a dream. Both have had family members living with diabetes who had difficulty managing their conditions. Sadly, one passed away early despite being under a doctor’s care and receiving information. Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal were searching for a way to bring better healthcare information to patients when, in 2006, they noticed new little little screens in their cabs. They realized how powerful digital signage could be to influence behavior and the idea for ContextMedia was born.

Like any proud parent, ContextMedia carefully nurtures the growth of their offspring. And they have big goals. They hope to be in 70% of physicians’ offices by 2020 and go from national to international, eventually reaching 7 billion people. But, ContextMedia realizes that their Why of improving health outcomes at scale can’t be so aspirational that they are no longer practical. So they strive to find the balance between the real and the ideal. And as people join their tribe, ContextMedia makes sure to communicate their Why during the interview process. Because, as Shradha Agarwal says, “if people are joining because of the what, they won’t last for very long. They have to be there for the mission and have the agility to adapt to the what and the how.”