eHealth Ireland Interview with Eamonn Costello and Colin Edwards

 
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Tell us about patientMpower in brief:
patientMpower is a digital healthcare company providing technology solutions for patients across a range of therapy areas including pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), renal dialysis and renal transplant. Our aim is to empower better outcomes by facilitating patients to better manage their care. Our mobile platform enables patients to track their disease using integrated monitors (e.g. pirometer, blood pressure meter), allowing them to better manage their treatment. Patients can then donate their data to our “digital biobankTM”. This real-life patient data is a unique resource for researchers, healthcare providers, healthcare insurers and resource planners, providing new insights to improve patient care.

What words of advice would you give to others starting up?
Talk to the end-users of your product or service before you design or build it. It is vital to know that you are addressing an unmet need and to know that your product actually helps to meet that need (particularly for the patient-user). In the case of healthcare, include both patient and healthcare experts in the conversation. Spend some time in piloting the service with some expert patients and listen to their feedback to fine-tune the design. Keep communicating with the patient and healthcare experts regularly as the product develops and as more is learned about its impact on patient outcomes

What are your key goals for next 12 months?
1. Launch patientMpower 2.0 for IPF: At the start of this year we were winners of the IPF Catalyst Challenge, an international competition which awarded a total purse of $1 million for the  developmentof ideas to improve the quality of life for patients with IPF. With the funding from the Catalyst Challengewe are now developing significant new functionalities for our existing IPF platform. For example, as well as enabling patients to track their own disease using spirometers and pulse oximeters, we are now developing analytics that will alert patients’ physicians to unusual results in their lung health data, potentially preventing exacerbations.

2. Develop solutions in new therapy areas: We know from our discussions with both patients and healthcare experts that there is a significant unmet need in helping patients manage their care and treatment after a lung transplant. We are therefore building a platform specifically for this patient group, which we will launch later this year.

3. Maximise use of our digital biobankTM. As our patient user base grows, so does the data in our digital biobankTM. It is a powerful source of real life patient data. We will be working with researchers and healthcare providers to provide new insights into IPF and renal disease, to improve patient care.

Why did you start patientMpower?
In 2012, Eamonn Costello gave up his job to care for his father who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Eamonn found that upon leaving hospital there were no support tools to help patients at home adapt to continuously changing instructions and drug regimens. With his background in engineering and telecommunications Eamonn built simple software tools to help manage his father’s medications and home treatment. Eamonn founded patientMpower in 2014. He believes passionately in putting patients at the centre of healthcare and that the patientMpower platform will support patients in their journey.

Colin Edwards has a background in clinical research, medical affairs and management within the pharmaceutical industry. In 2011, he gave a presentation to a pulmonary fibrosis patient support group, and was both impressed and saddened by how hungry they were for information on their own disease. In 2016, Eamonn and Colin met by chance at a digital health forum, and together they started to work on developing patientMpower for patients with IPF, with Colin taking up the role of Chief Scientific Officer. Colin is passionate about linking advances in digital health with traditional research methodologies to deliver truly effective healthcare products.

by Jennifer Bulandr

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