A Robot and A Pig: The Answer to Your Patient Engagement Problem

Meet Janet.

Janet is a former substitute teacher who also did odd jobs on the side to help pay bills. Last year, Janet suffered a stroke and day-to-day life became much more difficult. With limited mobility on her right side and blurred vision, Janet now spends most of her time getting from one appointment to another and working on her rehabilitation. Between provider visits and physical therapy appointments, Janet has found it difficult to find steady work to make ends meet.

She often reflects on the days before she had the stroke when she could move freely and do the things she loves, like hiking and working with children. Friends used to describe Janet as an outgoing, joyful person, but she hadn’t been her normal, outgoing self for a while and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Janet keeps to herself and has trouble reaching out to her friends when she needs help or feels lonely. Her friends don’t know that today is the second day Janet hasn’t had sufficient food in her home and cannot take her medication on an empty stomach.

Janet feels like she has taxed her support system and feels uncomfortable asking for help a lot of the time.

Until one day, Janet meets a new friend.

That friend is very aware of Janet’s struggles and knows the importance of being there for her each day. He is funny and provides levity when Janet’s days are hard. He knows about Janet’s food insecurities and he offers her help, in the moment. Her friend knows that “it takes a village,” so he takes it upon himself to connect Janet with her family and her neighbor who can help with rides to the store. Janet’s friend is available to her all the time: he doesn’t even mind when she needs to talk at 2:00 am. When she needed to see her primary care physician, he helped her schedule the appointment. He is always giving her suggestions on how to make the day easier and stay focused on her wellness journey.

Janet’s friend’s name is Pyxir. He’s a chatbot that lives in her smart phone.

Meet Pyx Health: A Mobile Care Solution

Whole person care starts with the belief that engagement is critical to helping people improve their health. This understanding of patients’ needs becomes crucial in accessing actionable information around their Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and evidence-based wellness. In order to achieve this genuine type of engagement, one must follow a few common-sense approaches:

  1. Treat the patient as a whole person, not as a sick patient.

    This means meeting people where they live, engaging them with humor, encouraging them, and showing them compassion, not just providing them with healthcare specific messages and to-do’s.

  2. Engage the people around the patient who are willing to help and give them the tools to be effective.

    A study published in Current Opinions in Psychiatry emphasized the importance of social and emotional support for others in being “protective for health.”

  3. Technology must be smart enough to learn about the patient as an individual and provide self-management solutions that are meaningful to them.

    No one wants to be treated like a diagnosis.

  4.  Interventions need to provide value to the user and be delivered on the technology that they have access to.

    86% of the 66,346,562 Medicaid members in the U.S. have the smartphone technology necessary to use a mobile application and they have the propensity to use it.

  5. While smart phones are common with Medicaid members, WiFi in the home, computers and tablets, and large data plans are not.

At Pyx Health, our goal is to work with our partners to emotionally take care of their Medicaid population so they can improve their health outcomes and reduce their cost of care during the 90% of time they aren’t in a provider’s office.

To successfully manage a Medicaid population, it’s critical to gain a deeper understanding of patients outside of the traditional care setting. We know that screening for SDOH needs and using this information for population risk stratification is no longer just “nice to have” for care management organizations, providers, or plans. The Pyx Health tool not only collects SDOH screenings and provides that information back to our partners, but it also offers local resources to patients the very second they let us know they need help. If someone doesn’t have a stable place to sleep, they usually are not able to be concerned about many things beyond that immediate need.

100% of users on the Pyx Health mobile app are Medicaid, Medicare, and DUAL members. Pyx Health was built with a maniacal focus on the most vulnerable populations because, often times, they are the ones overlooked by technology. These are the same people, like Janet, who are disproportionately affected by SDOH.

Where Pyx Health brings value to its partners is in the company’s dedication and understanding of how technology can be the vehicle for compassionate human care. Emtiro Health has partnered with Pyx Health to bring a valuable tool for patient empowerment to our population health services. To learn more about how we deploy the Pyx Health app, contact us at info@emtirohealth.org or call (336) 978-6542.

Brea Neri