Covid-19 Telehealth Solution for Clinicians
From the Blog
When it comes to our health, we’re (mostly) in the driver’s seat, but for many people it can sometimes feel like they’re missing the roadmap that tells us where we’re headed next. After all, most people see at least four different doctors and specialists annually, from their primary care physician to a dentist and dermatologist and optometrist and everyone in between — and that’s just for preventive care, which an individual tends to be on the hook to coordinate. Recently, we asked hundreds of people to tell us more about the major challenges and frustrations they have with their overall care and how they use Abridge to fill in the gaps. Many people told us that these different providers and specialists can add up to a lot to remember — and even more to follow through on. That’s where Abridge comes in, making it easier to both follow up and follow through, so that next steps are clear. Here’s a recap of the 5 things we learned.
When we started Abridge a little over two years ago, we grounded ourselves in a simple statement: that healthcare is about stories. These stories could take many forms, starting with the conversations people have with their doctors, and extending into the updates they give their friends and family. Stories can also be found in the notes that are captured in official medical records, and in all the ways people offer support to others in their community...
We’ve all been there. A doctor’s appointment with tons of jargon and complex instructions that leave our head spinning. If you’re like most of our users, that’s why you downloaded Abridge. But we often hear that gaining a better understanding of medical terms could be even faster. So today, we’ve made a big improvement with our “In this conversation” feature. Now, you’ll be able to see definitions for medical terms in the context of your conversation.
We founded Abridge with the belief that conversations between patients and doctors provide some of the most important insights into how people can live healthier lives. While the ability to extract insights from those conversations has historically been challenging, the many recent advances in machine learning have generated an opportunity for us to bring more focus and understanding to people’s health.
At 30, Steve Giallourakis, has had more experience with the healthcare system than most people have in their lifetimes. Giallourakis, a patient advocate who lives in the Cleveland area and is currently finishing his bachelor’s degree in advanced mathematics, was diagnosed with his first cancer when he was 15. He recently had surgery that successfully removed portions of one of his kidneys, part of the treatment for his fourth cancer. One of the most stressful and disorienting periods in his 15-year odyssey came last September.
At Abridge, our goal is to help people understand and follow through with every aspect of their health, so we continuously seek input on people’s needs to make sure we’re doing just that. Recently, we asked hundreds of people to tell us more about how they use Abridge and the impact it's had on their health. What really came through was that people have key challenges that Abridge solves for them — remembering the details, keeping people on the same page, and more. Here’s a summary of the 6 biggest things we learned.
Since we launched, we’ve heard feedback from people about how they use Abridge — and how they’d like to. That’s why today, we’re excited to introduce a bunch of improvements that will make it easier to organize and follow up on your care. When you update the app, you’ll find a revamped home screen and a host of new features based on feedback from Abridge users like you. Let’s dive in to what you’ll find in the redesigned Abridge.
In recent months, COVID-19 visitor restrictions have left many people without their usual support systems during medical appointments. Even in non-pandemic times, loved ones aren't always able to join patients at appointments big and small. When we can’t be present with one another, it’s even more important to find other ways to help people stay on the same page. We’ve heard from many people who use Abridge that they’d like a way to dial in family members to appointments that they also record with Abridge — so we built it.
Conversations between people and their doctors are full of important insights — but actually acting on them can be another story altogether. People say they tend to remember the beginning and end of conversations with doctors, but the details of their care plan are often lost. Two years ago, we started thinking about ways to help change this dynamic by empowering people to understand and follow up on their health. We realized that if we could just help them capture and reflect on their health conversations, then we could actually make it easier to understand and act on their care.
Everything we do at Abridge, whether it’s our focus on user experience, our dedication to security and privacy, or our approach to customer support, is ultimately in service of our core mission: to help people understand and follow-through on their health. But when it comes to the rawest building blocks of understanding and follow-through—those key insights, transcribed, highlighted, and defined—it’s our trailblazing work in machine learning research that makes the rest of the Abridge experience possible.
Keeping track of your doctors and other medical professionals can be challenging. The average person makes three doctors' visits per year, and for those taking care of children or elderly family members, the list of appointments and contact details for each one is even longer.
Our intention at Abridge has always been to create machine learning algorithms that support better understanding and follow-through. However, we recognize that disparities and biases exist in the U.S. healthcare system, as evidenced by a wealth of studies. For example, women experience longer delays in diagnosis and are prescribed less medication for pain, which is more often attributed to psychogenic causes.
Visits to the doctor often offer a snapshot of our overall health at a given point in time. But whether we’re visiting a specialist routinely or just touching base with a primary care physician annually, it’s helpful to make the most of each of these appointments.
We hear from a lot of people that they’re interested in taking more control over their health but feel a little uncertain about taking that next step. In fact, one of the most common questions we get is whether you can record a doctor’s visit. For many people, the question is two-pronged: A matter of comfort, and, well, a question about what’s allowed!
As more people are vaccinated against COVID-19 around the country, many of us are returning to some semblance of normal. That means catching up with friends and family — and also catching up on other things we missed, like taking care of routine doctors’ appointments. We recently conducted a survey of 1,500 Americans and 500 medical professionals to try to understand the impact COVID-19 had on peoples’ access to care and ability to follow through on their doctors’ advice. And it turns out that more than half of people we surveyed said they hadn’t visited their doctor in a year, which has major implications for staying on top of their health. Here’s a summary of our top takeaways.