SF Showcases: Shift Health

SF Showcases: Shift Health

Here at SocialFinance.ca, nothing excites us more than the opportunity to share stories about the great work happening in Canadian social finance! This goes double when the work is being done by our partners. A few months ago Trish Nixon introduced the 2nd cohort of Impact8, Ontario’s first social venture accelerator. Now with Impact8′s Demo Day just wrapped up, we’re continuing to profiling this cohort’s amazing ventures. Today we’re chatting with Danel Penn of Shift Health. The aim, as always, is to shine a light on folks in the field by lobbing a few questions their way: What problems are they tackling? What have they found to be best practices? Can this model be brought to scale and/or replicated? As always, we want your input on this and future profiles. Who would you like to know more about? What kind of stories do we need to tell more often? Whose lessons learned would you like to hear? Tweet us, Facebook us, or email us!

Thanks for chatting with us! To start us off, could you please tell us what Shift Health does in a tweet (140 characters or less)?

Shift Health empowers patients by transforming complex medical surveys into simple tools that build better patient provider relationships.

Expanding from that answer, what is the problem that Shift Health was conceived in order to address? What do you feel is unique about your approach to solving this problem?

Healthcare providers need complete and accurate information to manage their patients. This includes information on psychosocial issues, the patient’s health environment, and the patient’s experience with their care. Collecting this information by interview is time-consuming, sometimes uncomfortable, lacks standardization, and requires additional documentation. Text-based survey responses are limited due to boredom, survey fatigue, and low healthcare-literacy levels.

Poor communication and lack of patient engagement, especially about sensitive topics, can affect health outcomes. Missing critical information (e.g. drug use and mental health issues) can be life-threatening, while understanding a patient’s strengths (e.g. medication adherence) can potentially be leveraged to improve the patient/provider relationship.

TickiT is a unique innovation because the platform was built as a solution to help healthcare providers humanize their data collection process, and also by showing the power of using graphics, rather than text, in asking questions and engaging the patient. Furthermore, the development of TickiT stems from a co-creation process with healthcare leaders, patients, and a communication/graphic design team. This unique approach was to ensure that the patient remains at the centre of care, and that the survey tool can be understood by patients at a range of health literacy levels.

What factors have been important for getting you to where you are today and what will you need to build on to take Shift Health to the next level?

Shift Health began with an experienced physician and student design team to co-create a platform that met the needs of all the stakeholders across the healthcare continuum. This includes youth, who are avid users of technology, and highly-critical, direct client providers who need efficient and easy-to-read access to important information, researchers who need aggregated data, and health administrators who need cost-effective solutions that are efficient.

Since the beginning, Shift Health has focused on building an effective platform supported by evidence-based research. A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (2013) has proved that TickiT encourages patients to be prepared for the clinical encounter, and the comfortable and interactive interface allows patients to open up about sensitive topics. Key findings support the use to TickiT with a patient population:

  • Has high appeal (99% uptake)
  • Is easy to use (92%)
  • Has high completion rates with low survey fatigue (99%  for up to 90 questions)
  • Is  easy to understand (94%)
  • Has the patient feeling better prepared for the visit (84%)
  • And is efficient (80% < 10 minutes for 90 questions)

We currently have a skilled and passionate team that have helped us get to where we are today, and will further enable us to reach our future milestones. Members of the Shift Health team include a great mix of Patients, Designers, Researchers, Developers, and Business Developers. In addition, SHP also receives support and guidance from a well-respected team of advisors. This includes Privacy and Security experts, Business professionals, Healthcare leaders, and Front-line staff.  It is the diverse team behind Shift Health that helps us to bring the needs of all the stakeholders to the table, as we continue to develop TickiT in this space.

Blue sky time! Where is your venture in 5 years? Where’s the marketplace? How big a dent have you made in the problem you’re tackling?

Currently our greatest contribution is that we give patients a voice and empower them with an accessible and inclusive tool, resulting in improved communication within the healthcare setting. We deliver the patient’s perspective to health providers in a meaningful way that that will help providers deliver more meaningful, quality care.

While our initial clients, Boston Children’s Hospital and Seattle Children’s Hospital, have focused on youth health, SickKids Hospital (Toronto) recent interest has propelled TickiT beyond psychosocial surveys with pilots in Family Practice, Quality and Safety Management and Surgical wards.

In the next five years, we want to change the way that communication occurs in all healthcare settings. We value the power of inclusive design, which allows information to be more easily deciphered and navigated. Intake and discharge are such important times for communication to be clear, and is where TickiT can help patients and providers better navigate the system. Our goal is to become the new standard for capturing patient-entered data in any healthcare setting.


Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for more profiles of the amazing cohort of Impact8 social ventures!

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