What is your elevator pitch?
1 billion people worldwide suffer from hypertension, and over 50% of diagnosed hypertensives have their blood pressure out of control, despite the current strategies. This results in an unnecessary cost burden on healthcare payers for the management of hypertensives and for avoidable cardiovascular events due to uncontrolled blood pressure.
Amicomed offers a fully-automated B2B digital therapeutics platform for blood pressure management, to improve health outcomes and lower costs. The service uses intelligent proprietary algorithms to support physicians and patients with remote monitoring tools enhanced by unique analysis and actionable personalised lifestyle interventions (daily diet, exercise and blood pressure measurement scheduling).
Amicomed has a unique scientific differentiation and recognition, with 7 peer reviewed proof points at major international congresses showing a mean blood pressure reduction of 5mmHg (up to 20) and 70% adherence. A twelve-month follow up analysis of Amicomed’s users shows duration and improvement on the blood pressure lowering effects of our service, well beyond the initial 90-day lifestyle intervention program. Amicomed is for insurers, healthcare systems, large employers and device manufacturers who wish to provide a service that will deliver blood pressure improvements to their patients, customers or employees.
Has it changed much in the last 12 months?
Over the past 12 months, we have been able to analyse long-term data from Amicomed’s users, confirming the duration of the blood pressure-lowering effects of the Amicomed service. This is an extremely important milestone for us, as it dramatically increases the value of the service for potential customers. In the same time period, we have narrowed our market strategy, increasing our focus on B2B partnerships. Since then, Amicomed has most notably formed a partnership with Generali Group, a top worldwide insurance company, following a successful 6-month pilot on their employee population. We are also finalising a partnership with one of the world’s most prominent blood pressure device manufacturers.
What makes Amicomed unique in a relatively crowded market?
The Amicomed platform is the first to translate clinical guidelines into a mathematical approach to describe blood pressure trends and fluctuations, as well as being the first to translate existing general lifestyle guidelines into a complete actionable program specifically for hypertension. So far, no direct or indirect competitor offers Amicomed’s entire streamline of features (remote monitoring capability coupled with innovative trends and fluctuation analysis and insights, with a complete lifestyle intervention program, fully automated and focused on blood pressure). This unique service is based on 2 proprietary algorithms that took over 3 years of R&D to develop and implement. Furthermore, Amicomed has a unique scientific differentiation and recognition. Amicomed’s results have been presented at major scientific congresses and have received consistent and recurrent international scientific recognition, with several publications and other relevant awards.
What do you see as digital healthcare’s biggest challenges looking into 2019?
One of the greatest challenges in digital healthcare right now is demonstrating effectiveness in the long term, which is inevitably linked to engagement, thus keeping users motivated and on board. Another great challenge is the active involvement of the physician, whom digital solutions looking to be successful should not aim to replace, but rather include in the process, particularly when the physician can become active in the recruitment and sponsoring of digital solutions. In order to achieve this, digital solutions must be mindful of physician workflow and offer value to the medical profession as well as to the customer and end user. The final challenge that I would like to mention is of course demonstrating how digital healthcare can improve outcomes in multiple ways. Of course, the major parameters are clinical outcomes and economic sustainability, brought about by decreased medical spending and savings related to those improved clinical outcomes.
What of those can be achieved or managed in 2019?
We are seeing more and more forms of validation and recognition of the results generated by those companies that are tackling this field most effectively. This can happen in a variety of ways, including clinical studies, third party validation or certifications issued by competent authorities. A great example of this would be the FDA pre-cert program, which is helping to move some of the tech giants into the digital health space. The entry of major players from the tech industry to this market will benefit the entire sector through a major increase in data collection and applicable intelligence that will lead to improvements in all areas of challenge for digital healthcare.
In the tech sector we are talking a lot about AI at the moment. What is your take on its role in healthcare?
AI will undoubtedly assume a major role in healthcare, due to its sheer capacity for improvement, which can be applied to the management of health and illnesses. There are however two important points to bear in mind. Firstly, AI requires an enormous amount of data to do its job, so it will depend on an approach that integrates all parties in the ecosystem, with all the challenges, both technical and organisational, brought about by such an integration. This approach is finding more success in the US, where there is more openness to knowledge sharing and co-operation in the field, a mentality that still needs to gain more ground in Europe. To this end, maintaining user privacy is also a rightful but undeniable obstacle that must be tackled with extreme care and responsibility. Secondly, we must ensure that AI does not oversimplify the challenges it tackles, leading to poor outcomes. Insufficient databases for AI training can lead to a narrowing down of responses, which does not account for a variety of exceptions that deviate from the norm, leading to potentially harmful outcomes.
The interview has been originally published on the special issue of CoFounder