Published November 17, 2015
Volume 23, Number 11

Ergominder Improves Medical Outcomes by

Personalizing, Automating Patient Reminders

Alex Kouznetsov, Founder of Ergominder

By Jay Hipps

With the medical industry’s increasing reliance on outpatient procedures, patients have more responsibility than ever for heeding the follow-up instructions given to them by their doctors.
“When someone breaks an ankle, the doctor or orthopedic surgeon will fix you up and they’ll send you home, and they’ll give you instructions about what you have to do at home. This is called a medical protocol – what you need to do to recover,” says Alex Kouznetsov, founder of Hacienda startup Ergominder. “The average length of this sort of protocol is six months, and every two weeks what you need to do changes.”
There is only one problem: Most patients are not following their doctors’ orders. The protocols are usually delivered to patients on paper and, between the stress of having surgery and the inconvenience of needing to sort through printed instructions, Kouznetsov cites studies which found that only 47 percent of patients even look at the protocols and only 23 percent actually follow the instructions. Ignoring these recommendations — which typically cover medication, physical activities, and nutrition — means that many treatments fail in recovery, which increases overall medical costs in the U.S. by hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
That is the problem that Ergominder is working diligently to solve. “Wouldn’t it be nice to take all of these medical pieces of paper and put them in an online database?,” Kouznetsov says. “We could give access to the doctors and patients so they know what they need to do, depending on the diagnosis, and then automate this system so that patients will receive reminders everyday so they don’t have to remember? They wouldn’t have to read the papers every day — it just comes to them through their e-mail or their phone.”
Ergominder’s technology performs that function. Doctors can search through the company’s extensive archive of protocols and select the appropriate set of instructions for each patient, customizing it if necessary. That information is relayed at set times to the patient, who may receive these updates via e-mail or text message. “The ultimate beneficiaries of this, of course, will be patients,” he says.
Physicians will benefit as well. “If a doctor has 50 patients on protocols, which is not a high number, and send two messages to each patient per day — what they need to do in the morning, what to do in the evening — that’s 3,000 messages per month. That’s why we need to have a high-performance service,” he says. “This is the communication that doesn’t happen today, and this is how much Ergominder can improve the situation.”
Kouznetsov is already working with a number of orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists, and will be looking to put more of them on his system beginning in January. Protocols are also under development for a variety of other languages, including Chinese and Vietnamese. Ergominder’s software also interfaces with information from hundreds of insurance companies, which means that patient eligibility can be determined in seconds.
For additional information on Ergominder, access the company’s web site at www.ergominder.com or e-mail support@ergominder.com.


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