18 Jul Introducing the World’s First Social Health Prescription
Curatio was recently featured on StartUp Health’s new HEALTH Transformer Magazine.
The piece discusses Curatio as the first social health prescription providing support for patients in a way that is scalable, cost-effective, and heavily improves patient engagement.
For decades, clinicians have known that patients who receive support from family and friends often experience better outcomes, faster recovery times, and fewer readmissions. But while encouraging patients to attend support groups has been a common practice for over a century, clinicians still lack a way of meaningfully extending that support beyond the hospital’s walls.
“Around the world, there’s a real lack of scalable patient support,” said Lynda Brown-Ganzert, founder and CEO of Curatio, a StartUp Health company. “It’s very difficult for hospitals or insurers to provide patients with consistent engagement of this kind in a truly scalable way.”
According to Brown-Ganzert, an absence of social support can be extremely detrimental to a patient’s health and wellbeing. Socially isolated individuals have a 50% higher risk of premature death, a 29% higher risk of heart disease, and a 32% higher risk of stroke. And though traditional support groups can offset social isolation, accessing them isn’t always easy.
“While hospitals might offer face-to-face support groups, it’s sometimes difficult for patients to attend them,” said Brown-Ganzert. “Tuesday at 7 p.m. across town might not work if you’ve got kids, or if you’re from out of town, or if you’re working at the time.”
For Brown-Ganzert, the solution to this problem is social health, a term she coined to describe the benefits that her company, Curatio, offers its users. Social health occurs when a patient has immediate and consistent access to a network of both peers and healthcare professionals. By digitizing the traditional support group — and augmenting it with machine learning and targeted content — Curatio has made accessing social health as simple as opening a smartphone app.
“When we’re talking about social being the missing piece of health, we’re talking about something we’ve known for years, but haven’t been able to deliver in a personalized way,” explained Brown-Ganzert. “It’s really about finding your tribe — about finding your digital twin.”
To allow patients to connect with one another without compromising their privacy or being subjected to abuse, Curatio has built its own social media platform, which Brown-Ganzert refers to as a “private social network.” Once a patient completes their profile, Curatio’s software starts matching them with users who share their conditions, demographics, and even hobbies.
“It’s about getting support in real-time from a group of people who really understand what you’re going through,” explained Brown-Ganzert. “From there, we layer on personalized content — content that’s curated, evidence-based, and specific to your condition and interests.”
“In order for patient engagement — and patient empowerment — to happen, you need a social plugin,” said Brown-Ganzert.
For the patients who use it, Curatio has four major components: a circle, a community, a magazine, and health tools. The circle, which patients gradually build by sending invites to one another, consists of the peers a user has connected with. The community is composed of everyone connected to a user’s circle, and is viewable through a user’s social feed. Each patient on the Curatio platform has their own magazine, which contains helpful articles related to their specific conditions. The fourth component, health tools, allows users to track their symptoms over time.
“It’s really about putting the power in the patient’s hands so they can monitor how they’re doing on a day-to-day basis,” said Brown-Ganzert. “Whether that’s through a blood glucose tracker or an anxiety tracker, we want them to be able to draw the correlations themselves.”
If Curatio’s track record is any indication, the need for social health is widespread. The startup launched in March of this year and already has users in 31 countries. Last year, Curatio joined StartUp Health’s global army of Health Transformers, and is currently acquiring clients at a healthy rate. According to Brown-Ganzert, the company’s revenue comes from licensing its platform to large healthcare, pharmaceutical, and research organizations.
“In our model, we feel very strongly that patients shouldn’t pay, that there shouldn’t be any barriers between patients and the social support they need,” said Brown-Ganzert. “We deliver value, adherence support, and great population health insights by licensing the platform to payers and providers.”
Prior to launching, the company spent a significant amount of time performing research to validate its technology. Having established the science behind its approach, Curatio is currently translating its platform into multiple languages to accommodate an increasingly global user base. It’s all part of a long-term plan to dominate the multi-billion dollar patient engagement market by offering patients everywhere the support they need.
This article was written by the team at HEALTH Transformer. You can read the article first published by StartUp Health by clicking here.