Laguna Health adds new role to build out custom patient engagement platform

Laguna Health, a home recovery platform, has announced the addition of a vice president of behavioral health and clinical integration who will help build a custom patient engagement model that contextualizes each patient. 

"We cannot help patients successfully recover and expect them to return to their happy, healthy and productive life if we ignore their mental and emotional wellbeing," Laguna president and chief medical officer Alan Spiro, M.D., said in the announcement.

Jeff Rubin is a psychologist by training and has worked on developing engagement models at Cigna and Accolade. The platform he is building out for Laguna will take things like emotional barriers into consideration to improve home recovery outcomes for patients. 

There are predictable and well-known emotional barriers to recovery: 50% of cardiac hospitalizations and 75% of stroke patients experience severe bouts of depression as a result of loss of physical functioning. 

RELATED: Healthcare industry will face higher medication errors, declining patient trust in 2022: Forrester

As a result, more than one-third of all home discharged patients escalate to higher cost settings, such as being readmitted back to the hospital. Readmissions strain the patients' mental health and sadly, half of these readmissions are preventable.

“My goal is that it becomes your best friend during recovery,” Rubin told Fierce Healthcare. Rubin believes recovery is the most neglected part of any healthcare service. Yet it’s one of the most important. “When recovery changes your baseline, and you have to develop a new normal, recovery is a bio-psycho-social event,” he said. 

Rubin hopes that, eventually, the platform will store everything from a patient’s medication list to their discharge summary to resources and digital therapeutics for recovery. The various elements will be added as the platform scales. The platform itself launched last May, followed by the app in September. New versions of both continue to be released. Rubin terms the pace of development “engineer-style sprinting,” helped along by the company’s openness to experimentation, he said. 

The hallmark of a solid care model is “the ability to contextualize care, to codify and break down its components," Rubin said. "At Laguna, that looks like breaking down personal patient characteristics and barriers to care like environmental factors using AI and machine learning. Then, with the help of clinical data models, 150 different elements are analyzed and tested for the best fit per patient," he said.