RMDY.health is “digital therapeutics made easy.” And for CEO Amir Kishon, that means providing cloud solutions for end-to-end digital therapeutics services for everyone. “We aim to provide the market with the best solutions so that any healthcare stakeholder can go in and create their own solution overnight,” said Kishon. “Our platform can be configured for big companies like Medtronic, or even a one-doctor clinic.”
“The WordPress for Digital Therapeutics”
Digital therapeutics is a growing field that is dominated by massive companies that incorporate tracking, coaching, and educational material into digital therapeutics programs for various patient populations. These programs often have phenomenal results and are very effective for various stakeholders.
But there are over 20,000 healthcare stakeholders that don’t have access to these large companies, and instead are currently using phone- and paper-based solutions to manage their patients. However, these programs typically have very low engagement. For these stakeholders to provide a comprehensive digital therapeutics program, they would need to outsource their digital therapeutics programs to one of the big companies or take two (or more) years to develop a program of their own –both options either too expensive or too risky to be realistic.
What RMDY offers is a cloud-based platform where these stakeholders create their own digital therapeutics program without having to develop anything. “It’s very much like WordPress for digital therapeutics” explains Kishon. “All of the digital therapeutic services are there. All you have to do is a little configuring, and you have your own service.”
A Company Shaped by Disruption
The company got its start in the online dieting world back in 2002. Back then, it was called Wellness Layers, and fee-based subscription diets were extremely popular. Kishon calls this an “educational period” for the company when they were building their foundation and learning how to engage consumers around their health and wellness.
The arrival of free subscription services began to disrupt the online weight loss industry, and Wellness Layers had to decide how it was going to meet the challenge. The answer came in 2006, when they began building online dieting platforms for brands like Nutrisystem, NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Medifast, Atkins and more. Wellness Layers was reaching over 20 million consumers with their system, and the company was dominating the online dieting space.
Kishon and his team have always approached disruption and the debut of new technologies as opportunities to innovate. It is this perspective that transformed the company from an online diet company into the digital therapeutics powerhouse it is today. Their journey has also given them a unique perspective on patient engagement and has influenced the platform they’ve created, and the company they’ve become.
From Wellness to Digital Therapeutics
What brought the company to what Kishon calls, “the most exciting part of our journey,” was yet another disruption. Free apps and social media were on the rise and companies were shifting away from creating internal communities, and moving those conversations to Facebook and other social media platforms. “We started saying, we know how to engage million of consumers, but our market is struggling right now — maybe there’s another market that can benefit,” said Kishon. “Then we started thinking: How does managing your diet compare to managing your diabetes, or some other condition?” The healthcare market was definitely an appealing option. “Take almost any hospital, and there is more revenue there than at any of those giant diet companies,” explains Kishon. “And there’s only a handful of large diet companies — hospitals are everywhere.”
As the company was considering its move into a new market, executives also noticed another trend: coaching paradigms. Coaching paradigms consist of a system created for the patient and someone who provides guidance (a coach or clinician). So, in 2013, the company made three major changes:
1. It made its move into healthcare.
2. Its focus shifted from self-management programs to coaching.
3. RMDY, a new cloud-based platform, was created.
The Platform Becomes the Brand
After Wellness Layers made these changes, executives realized that the market still thought of their company as a fitness and diet (wellness) brand, as opposed to a healthcare brand. “We wanted to make a change and celebrate that change from a brand standpoint,” said Kishon. “Everyone loved the platform name, so we thought, why not call the company RMDY Health?”
Once they decided to call the company RMDY Health, they purchased the domain. But then, they realized that there was a new domain extension: .health. “For us, a .health domain underlines the fact that we are innovators, that we are moving into a new domain,” explains Kishon. “And so we said, let’s be a little extreme. Let’s go with RMDY.health.”
The Art of Patient Engagement
One benefit to the coaching paradigm is that it engages patients on a different level. It’s all about building relationships and bringing the patient into the present – giving them tasks they can do TODAY to stay on track and ultimately, feel better. “Once you get a message from a coach, it becomes much more important,” explains Kishon. “Patient engagement is more of an art than a science or technology. Probably the worst thing you can do is approach it in a logical way. People think that patients care about their health, and that alone will motivate them to track their activities and communicate with their providers. But we’re finding it doesn’t quite work that way. If you tell someone they’ll feel better in one to two years if they take their medication, that doesn’t register. What we do is we bring people into the now and sugarcoat what’s good for them with coaching and community.” Here are just some of the ways, RDMY has used the coaching paradigm to keep patients engaged:
Case Study #1: VillageCare in New York City
This project’s goal was to get VillageCare’s 6,000 HIV patients to take their medication as prescribed. RMDY’s solution: Configure the platform’s medication tracker and include a social framework. When we launched, we were very concerned about the social side, even privacy issues,” remembers Kishon. “We gave patients the ability to create an avatar so they could hide their identities and it was surprising how successful that was.” In the end, the combination of social + support + tracking generated over 80% engagement. The relationship with the coach and the opportunity to interact with other patients who were living with HIV proved to be a huge motivator in encouraging people to stick with treatment.”
“80% engagement is based on the total population,” said Kishon. “Now, people say, ‘This is impossible, we have 5% on a monthly basis.’ But this is over 80% of the total population and we have other clients that also register this level of engagement on a daily basis.”
Case Study #2: Medtronic
RMDY and Medtronic have partnered together on many initiatives. One of their most successful projects was a classic case of digital therapeutics — a coaching solution for high-risk diabetic patients. The program had outstanding results. In the first three months, participants achieved an average reduction of 2% in A1C levels, with improvements observed across 83% of the participants.
Soon after, Medtronic and RMDY realized the system they created didn’t have to be limited to clinical solutions — it could also be a wonderful system for patient relationship management. They tested their theory, creating an environment that supports patients when they receive a new Medtronic device. Onboarding processes consist of sending patients a manual and calling them at home to see if they need any assistance. But as we all know, no one reads user manuals anymore. Now, Medtronic has a structured onboarding patient education plan, coupled with guidance and access to clinicians that can support patients through digital programs, telehealth and chat.
“We aren’t managing their condition, we are managing their experience as far as how they operate a new device for diabetes and what they need to do,” explains Kishon. “For us, it was eye-opening to see that the same coaching paradigm really works very well there.”
Building a “Self-Driving Car for Healthcare”
RMDY is always watching the market, looking for new ideas to embrace, and new technologies to add to their platform. Currently, the company is focused on making the clinician more efficient through AI and machine learning — so instead of managing 300 patients, they can manage 3,000 patients. “To do that, you need to create automation and smart automation with AI and machine learning,” said Kirshon. “Eventually, servers will automatically manage large populations of patients, and only alert live coaches when necessary. It’s like the self-driving car for healthcare.”