I think this award indicates that wearables and digital health have advanced into a perfect storm where people need not just their past records but their current health observations and assistance wherever they are. We bring all three together while riding a tsunami of innovation.
-CEO CJ Wilson MyHealth.Us
Winner Best Wearable Technology Solution, Health Tech Digital Award 2020
I called CJ Wilson to congratulate him on claiming this year’s Best Wearable at the Health Digital Tech Awards. Modestly, he told me it wasn’t him; his team had won. A former investment banker and a venture capitalist for early-stage companies, he is currently the CEO and Founder of MyHealth.Us located in New York City. Milestones are numerous, starting with wearable QR Lifecodes to BlueCard.io and EmergencyManager.io launched in 15 languages. My.Health.US’s new platform includes advances in medical records, health tracking, and care assistance. I asked CJ to share his data story, innovative solutions, and thoughts on personal data in the age of CoVid-19. Here are his words, gently edited.
The Ah-ha Moment
It started with a trip taken to China by my daughter. Naturally, any parent is concerned that something can happen. Even though medical bracelets have been around for generations, I thought a scannable QR code would be a much easier and globally ubiquitous solution. All you need is a cell phone camera pointed at a QR code, and it reads it without any additional downloads. Even better! Traveling in China, she wore a QR code necklace that shared her medical information in multiple languages. Whether you have a medical condition or not, a first responder needs your health data in an emergency. You want them to know if you have allergies, how to reach your emergency contacts, and about resuscitation, current medications, directives, etc. All are important. The Ah-ha moment came later when it became clear that medical records would be more readily available, but we would have to help them along. We work with whatever data the hospital has. We import in its raw format and make it more accessible for providers, wherever they may be. Sensor data is important too. But data must be truly useful and actionable. That is when we began following Clayton Christensen‘s advice, the phenomenal guru of business. In a meeting with us, he said people just want to be well, which meant bringing innovative solutions to them. We are agnostic in the process. We are not selling beds or pills or doctors’ time; we are trying to get and keep you well. We needed to identify these innovative solutions and get you to them either directly or through a provider. And that was the Ah-ha moment that we could do something special.
Data Breeds Safety
With almost 4000 high school students, New York City’s Stuyvesant High School knows safety is their #1 priority. Three years ago, we were asked to digitize the students’ emergency health information. Granted, it was a very rigorous process given privacy concerns. The school had already been thinking about this and gave us a lot of guidance regarding what would make sense for them and parents with underage patients. The emergency profile, records, and health tracking are opt-in for the parents. Students can wear a wristband QR label on the back of the phone or on their student ID. The schools using this system are truly leading a digital-health revolution. The system works easily with whatever installed system the school has been using. We now serve any NYC school system in 15 languages. It is extremely easy to use, update, and very secure. I am happy to say we received the best testimonial possible; “MyHealth.Us benefits every single family and benefits every single student.” That suits us well.
We have three different user base scenarios: individuals and family, communities and schools, labor unions and employee benefit plans, but it starts from the same place. That is an alphanumeric code. Your medical record is often stored in different facilities, different hospitals, and clinicians. You import your sensor data. But even more important are observations from emails, text, voice messages, and pictures contributed by your family, yourself, and caregivers that build a confidential health diary. We can target and understand particular needs with our platform and provide information that people should know more about or follow. Most needed, though, we consider the entire health ecosystem: the clinician, the individual, and providers. Together, we can be better partners in an emergency and for predictive and preventative solutions.
Data for Determinants of Health
Our mission has always been to get you well, keep you well, faster, earlier, and more affordably with fewer errors. When you understand a considerable part of the population that does not have a hospital at an accessible distance, let alone the money in the bank to pay for their deductible, you see a delay in care. CoVid-19, with unemployment, the layoffs, and time at home, brings in a question of behavioral and social economics, not just disparity but into the determinants of health. Our goal is to help everyone. We are not VIP service just for those who can afford it. We retail for $2.00 or less a month for those employers and benefit plans. In the case of communities and schools, we are just beginning the process of making the service free. We do have some grant applications out there. Our goal is to find unmet needs, help people be more engaged in their health, and get the care they can afford. And we know that this is possible. One small study showed a 15% reduction in claims year or year. So yes, we do more than just bridge disparities. We aim for the biggest populations possible, and want to assist those who have been missed by the system, can’t afford the current system, or are expensive for the current system to serve.
COVID-19 Response for Data
COVID-19 has certainly put us to the test. It has advanced digital health years in a matter of months. Having better and more data has undoubtedly raised awareness of what we do and how important it is for better outcomes. Tracking your health data is fundamental to our being. People are starting to understand that they are responsible for their health; the costs have no basis in reality. And you need someone who loves you to help you. We learned this early on from Dr. Regina Herzlinger of Harvard. Dr. Herzlinger is a genius and god-mother of Digital Health. She espouses that we need to be truly engaged and involved in our care. This doesn’t exist in the current framework for the vast majority of people in this world. Giving the data, with tracking and innovative tools, to the consumer is the way forward.
After nine months with COVID-19, no question, the patient has to fend for themselves. With a second wave filling beds, you are told don’t go to the hospital. Yet don’t know what the best consumer-facing solutions are often. Now data is being bought together, and best cases are shared. We have learned a lot in these nine months. We’ve built a COVID-19 Results digital wallet and other features. We have been able to share many solutions from providers with consumers. When patients speak to a doctor, they can add value to their engagement, like knowing how to track their oxygen levels with a cell phone and how to boost immunity and request from the doctor when the situation changes. Data engagement has never been more critical when you are taking care of yourself. Though COVID-19 cases and calls are up, we strive to deliver better emergency care assistance and more predictive and preventive care solutions across the board. These provide the foundation when you have the right data at the point of care, for more affordable, better outcomes for all.