@Connected Health: Myca, Hello Health and Qualcomm

By Brian Dolan
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At the Connected Health Symposium in Boston this week, Myca Health described its offering as a platform for physicians and patients, called MycaHub, which delivers a set of automated tools, intuitive interfaces, integrated systems, and the capacity for doctor and patient to engage in real time, any time, online or offline.

Earlier this month the company announced that Blue Cross Blue Shield Ventures and Sandbox Industries had made a into the company, which has a well-known and highly publicized subsidiary named Hello Health that offers the platform to physicians.

Myca Health also offers its Myca Hub to employers with in-house clinics -- self-insured employers like Qualcomm. Interestingly, Qualcomm actually developed the Myca platform in-house before turning it over to entrepreneur Nat Findlay who now leads the company as CEO, Qualcomm's VP of Health and Life Sciences, Don Jones told mobihealthnews on the sidelines of The Connected Health Symposium in Boston this week. Qualcomm knew that EMRs probably wouldn't reach the level of patient-doctor interactivity that Myca offers today for years to come -- so it decided to build the platform on its own. How long do you think it will be before EMRs allow patients and doctors to exchange video messages? Myca does that today.

"You might guess from my title that I had a little bit to do with Qualcomm's decision to [use Myca Health's platform], but really it was a human resources-driven effort to put it in place," Jones told attendees at the event. "I like to describe Qualcomm's health plan as '110 percent PPO' because it covers everything, including deductibles and even things like LASIK. The company uses the health plan for retention and recruiting and it's quite effective. Qualcomm is recognized as a top 100 employer in America and its health plan is a key reason," Jones said.

While discussions around employers interest in connected health offerings typically stems from cutting healthcare costs, Jones said Qualcomm's main reason for adopting the Myca Health platform is to maintain or increase employee productivity and activity. Qualcomm's workforce is highly educated and therefore very expensive: 77 percent of the company's employees have PhDs and Masters, which means if they have to leave their desks to go home, get their car and go to the doctor's office, it can be extraordinarily expensive for the company. The cost of productivity drove Qualcomm to the Myca platform. Care can be conveniently provided to the employees, who on some occasions can check-in with their doctor via email or even video message, Jones said.

Jones closed his remarks about the Myca platform by sharing some research that Qualcomm did about the key to developing medical services for the consumer market place. In order to have a successful offering, Jones said, five things must be present: Hope, Guilt Reduction, Peace of Mind, Trust and Fun. The offering must supply hope to the consumer so he or she believes the offering can change their condition. The offering must supply or meet a level of guilt reduction -- maybe it makes it easier for a patient to see their doctor by offering it online, while before taking the time to go to the doctor was taking them away from work. The solution must also allow patients to build trust and Jones said Myca does that by increasing the personal relationship between patient and doctor. The service must provide some peace of mind: In this case the doctor is available to receive questions via email or video message anytime and anywhere. Finally, Jones said that the service must provide some element of fun, which "is something that the medical device guys just don't get at all."

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