Twine Health’s mobile app aims to improve communication between doctors and the patients they see most often. Cofounded by Frank Moss PhD ’77 and PhD candidate John Moore of MIT’s Media Lab, the company’s goal is to provide a collaborative care solution to patients with chronic diseases. Its first target? Hypertension.
Moss and Moore recently chatted with BetaBoston about their platform, which allows clinicians and patients to jointly create a customized care plan. A self-tracking tool allows patients to chart their progress; doctors receive updates as the patient completes—or doesn’t complete— items on their care list, such as taking their medication or getting some exercise.
“It’s a motivational strategy,” Moore told BetaBoston’s Nidhi Subbaraman. “We try to make [the plan] very concrete and actionable. It doesn’t feel like it’s made for someone else.”
According to Twine’s website, approximately 80% patients who adhere to their plans reach their target blood pressure in three months or less. In October, Twine began publishing aggregated real-time results of patients enrolled in its pilot program on the web.
In addition to bridging the communication gap between doctors and patients, Twine says it can reduce the cost of treating hypertension. A six-month control trial charted the progress of patients who used Twine Health versus patients who received only in-office care. According to a paper published in March, the Twine app reduced the annual cost of treatment from $250 per patient to $70. One hundred percent of patients in the Twine group reached their blood pressure goals, as compared to only 30% of those treated only in office—and they reached those goals in a quarter of the time it took members of the in-office group.
Feedback from participants in Twine’s controlled hypertension study stated that patients felt good about taking responsibility, and that “awareness of the associations between actions (diet, exercise, stress management, medication adherence) and blood pressure outcomes was integral to their success.” The company is offering medical practices limited-time free trials and is currently being used by six US clinics treating hypertension patients. Twine hopes to enroll 1,000 patients by January 2015, and to expand its platform to other chronic diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease within another year.
Read Twine Health’s interview at Beta Boston.