Better patient-clinician engagement is focus of new app

Florsham, Pa.-based Verilogue Inc., recently launched its CareCoach mobile app, designed to help patients communicate more clearly with their physicians and other care providers.

The first, free layer of the intriguing new app provides educational audio files of real conversations between patients and physicians. Anyone can access them, and glean lessons about how to talk to doctors, Verilogue chief technology officer Jamison Barnett tells FierceMobileHealthcare.

Users who purchase a membership then get some commentary on the audio files, plus online coaching tools and strategies to "help them through situations where they feel they're being dismissed by a physician, [or] not getting the answers they need," Barnett says.

One example: The app encourages users to explain all of the effects of their condition or complaint. Often patients talk about the physical effects of their condition, but not the social or emotional effects, he explains. A painful facial rash may not seem like a big deal until the patient explains to the clinician that he or she isn't going to work, and is becoming depressed, as a result. "If you take the opportunity to tell your clinician how [your condition] is affecting your quality of life, you might," find providers taking your condition more seriously, Barnett says.

The app then provides prompts to the patient during the office visit; in this example, reminding him or her to discuss the social impacts of the rash with the physician, Barnett adds. The app also provides questions that other patients with the same condition have asked their clinicians.

CareCoach also encourages patients to record their visits with clinicians. The app records audio files of patients talking to their doctors and nurses, allowing them to be shared with other practitioners, family members, and the like. Given that the laws on recording conversation are different in most states, the app prompts patients to obtain their clinicians' permission before recording, Barnett notes.

"We are firm believers that patients own their own health information. They decide whether to record, and who to share it with," he says. However, "we strongly encourage them to make the physician aware, and get their consent. If [the recording is] used for healthcare purposes, there isn't a legal requirement for consent," but in the world of YouTube, it's smart to get permission if possible.

To learn more:
- read a Philadelphia Business Journal story
- get details from Verilogue's press release