Kent Dicks: Nice to see you too David. Thanks for joining us here.
Williams: Kent, tell us about MedApps?
Dicks: MedApps is a wireless remote patient monitoring system that connects patients in their home to their electronic health record and ultimately their care giver by using low cost, off the shelf devices that typically would be found at Walgreen’s, CVS, and Target and connecting them via mobile wireless technology to a central server.
Williams: How is that different from some of the remote monitoring approaches that have been used in the past?
Dicks: The traditional Telehealth 1.0 systems are boxes that are plugged into phone lines and typically dedicated for point of care. A lot of times they’re being used with patients who are entering the emergency room or the hospital and incurring a lot of health care costs. They’re used more in a reactive mode versus a proactive mode. We found a niche where –instead of having a $600 scale from some of these existing systems– you could interface to a $60 scale that’s off the shelf and you could send the data to a central server where it can be monitored. I’m a big believer that whether it’s a $600 scale or a $60 scale, that if I can verify that you took your reading, you’re more likely to take your medication and you’re more likely to stay out of the hospital.
Williams: Does the patient have to be a high tech oriented person in order to make use of your system?
Dicks: Absolutely not. We realize there is a generation there of about ten years of people who are getting older and are generating health care costs that haven’t had a lot of experience with technology or have access to technology. So instead of them having to adjust to technology, we’re adjusting our technology to them. We make it seamless and invisible in the background. All they have to do is just take the readings.
Williams: I know that in this field reimbursement has been a challenge. How do you think about reimbursement and getting paid for what you do?
Dicks: Reimbursement is going to continue to be a challenge for a while. It’s good that we’re having these health care reform talks right now, both positive and negative. Anything we can do to talk about lowering health care costs and looking at remote patient monitoring for distance is a great thing, but our model is not predicated on reimbursement right now. It’s predicated on going after large enterprises that are financially responsible for patients; for example disease management companies. Consumers right now are not willing to pay $399 for a device. They’re not willing to pay $3.99 for an iPhone application, but large enterprise customers are dragging us in saying: we need to reduce our health care costs because we’re seeing annual increases of 10%, 20%, or 30%. That’s what we’re trying to address.
Williams: Kent, tell me some of the big partners that you’re working with.
Dicks: We’ve decided that instead of creating our own ecosystem of health care that we would enable the health care market place. So we’re working with Microsoft HealthVault, with Google Health, with anyone who is basically aligned with the shelf space. LifeScan, Abbott, Roche, Bayer, HoMedics, Omron, the carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Orange. Those are the people that it will take bring a new health care ecosystem together.
Williams: Great. Well Kent, have a terrific show.
Dicks: Thanks very much. Thanks for talking to me.October 27, 2009