Tech for Better Patient Experiences Isn’t Just Possible, It’s Necessary
Angie Stevens wanted more for her patients. Years of nursing—first on a cardiovascular step-down unit in the hospital, then in primary care—and still the same pattern: She only saw her patients after they were already sick, often with chronic disease. Even then, she was lucky if she saw them twice a year.
It just wasn’t enough for Angie to practice at the top of her license. Nor was it enough to make a consistent, meaningful difference in her patients’ lives.
Disillusionment with the current healthcare delivery models left Angie dreaming of the way things could be. She envisioned a future in healthcare where more frequent, more in-depth touch points with patients led to better outcomes and a more fulfilling career.
Angie realized that Remote Patient Monitoring was the missing piece and a game-changer for delivering care and managing chronic conditions. The technology allowed her to build stronger connections with patients, allowing Angie to become a more consistent, frequent partner in her patients’ health.
“It was scary because there really wasn’t anything out there like this,” Angie explains. But she was willing to stake her career on an intrepid belief: Using technology to build better relationships with patients and foster a better experience was not only possible, but necessary in a healthcare system where providers and patients often fell short of their goals.
Undeterred, she partnered with Dr. Greg Weidner, a primary care physician and visionary healthcare leader working to transform health. In 2013, their team started using an RPM platform to engage with and manage their patients' chronic conditions. In 2014, they launched their first pilot project. More than 200 patients with unhealthy blood pressure used the platform to input their vitals, engage with their care team, learn about blood pressure management techniques, and more.
The program worked. In just three months, nearly 90% of participants in the pilot achieved normalized blood pressure readings.
“We had the highest quality measures of any clinic in this large system,” Angie recalls. “At that point, I knew I could never go back to traditional nursing. This was how it needed to be done.”
Building a Foundation of Trust
Following their initial success, Angie and Dr. Weidner replicated the results in patients with other chronic conditions, including diabetes, and weight management. The results appeared sustainable, too: In a 12-week weight management program, the average patient lost 7.5 pounds and maintained weight loss a year after the program concluded.
With her vision for the future of healthcare delivery validated, Angie launched her own health and wellness enterprise, Health Logx, in March 2020. At Health Logx, the patient and provider experiences are far cries from typical healthcare episodic encounters. “I used to work in an environment where we'd tell patients during their rushed visit, ‘You need to lose weight. You need to exercise.’' Angie explains. “Then I’d say, ‘See you in six months.’ That’s just not enough.”
Now, Angie and her patients can connect whenever they need through the Carium app, the RPM platform powering Health Logx’s care delivery. For Angie’s patients, chronic condition management, certified diabetes education, and personalized health coaching are all just a tap away. For clinicians like Angie, Carium’s real-time monitoring makes preventive care and deep patient relationships possible.
“If I see one of my patients lose weight over a week, I can reach out to them and tell them they’re doing amazing work. I can tell them to keep it up. And for lots of people, it’s like getting a Facebook ‘like’ from your care team and your physician. That means so much to our patients,” Angie says.
And that’s the difference between run-of-the-mill, check-the-box RPM platforms and Carium, Angie explains. “We’re getting results because the technology connects our patients to their care team. We have their medical chart, we know their labs, we build relationships with them. They trust us, and that’s huge.”
Support, Trust and Elite Health Coaching: Enrique’s Story
Trust was a big barrier between Enrique, 69, and the healthcare system he needed to help manage his weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Past experience working on computer systems for the U.S. government and big companies like Microsoft and CitiGroup left Enrique with serious concerns about sharing his personal data. He was particularly skeptical of having his health data tracked, and previous interactions with doctors and nurses hadn’t done much to sway his opinion. He and his wife Patricia felt like their health concerns constantly fell on deaf ears.
That changed when they met Angie. She listened and came to understand his concerns and idiosyncrasies before weaving them with the data she collected from his digital health kit—the Carium app, a blood pressure cuff, and a Fitbit.
“You have no idea what it took for me to convince him to wear a Fitbit,” Patricia says. “But he did it because of Angie. He likes her. He trusts her. Because of her, he hooked up.”
After working with Angie for five months, Enrique saw incredible results. His daily step count has grown, and his waist size has shrunk —in fact, Enrique cut 7.31% of his body weight and lost 2.5 inches from his waist circumference from August to December 2020. “We’re achieving numbers that our doctor has wanted us to achieve for the past three years,” Patricia says.
She attributes Enrique’s health benefits to the relationship he shares with Angie—one that’s unlike any he’s shared with other clinicians. “You need a coach who sees your weaknesses and knows your strengths. They need to know your personality—what works and doesn’t work for you,” Patricia says. “That’s what Angie does with this software. And now Enrique wants to do good because he likes his coach.”
As if better health weren’t enough, Angie brings benefits to Enrique and Patricia’s marriage, too. “When you’ve been married for as long as we have, there’s always a bone of contention when you try to tell your spouse what to do. Angie removes that,” Patricia says. “She has allowed me to not have to be the parent in this relationship. Now we can be husband and wife again.”
Never Go It Alone: Eileen’s Story
Eileen, 76, has always taken her health seriously, working as a coach who uses art to help people overcome trauma, and describing herself as a dedicated follower of the ancient mind-body-spirit practice Qigong. Despite paying close attention to her health for decades, Eileen began experiencing irregular heartbeats prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, she leaned on her artwork and Qigong practice to help guide her through the palpitations. But following lockdowns, the attacks became much worse.
Eileen discovered that she was experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib)—and she was facing it alone.
After connecting with Angie through her cardiologist, Eileen was overwhelmed with respect for Angie’s approach to care and the ease of the Carium app. “Any question I had, she was right there. She puts emotion into her work that gives me comfort. And when I go into AFib, I feel out of control, so she helps me with that,” Eileen says. “Having another layer in your healthcare, where someone really has the time and the ability and the skills to help you, is just fantastic.”
During her five-month relationship with Angie, Eileen has hit goals that reduce strain on her heart. She’s lost 12 pounds, dropped three inches in her waist circumference, reduced her A1c, has lowered her cholesterol levels significantly, and she’s adopted a plant-based, sugar-free, processed food-free diet.
She continues to keep up with her artwork and Qigong practice, and has also added regular walks into the mix on Angie’s recommendation. Since November, her daily step count has risen steadily—and her weight has dropped in proportion.
“I feel like I have the energy of a 30- or 40-year-old,” Eileen says. “I want people to know that there are opportunities to grow no matter what age you are. You can surround yourself with people who are going to support your health.”
Bringing Connection Back to the Provider-patient Relationship
Angie’s influence on patients isn’t limited to Enrique and Eileen. Some patients look forward to her calls—especially those enduring the pandemic alone at home. She’s been there to help tons of tech-averse seniors understand just how easy it is to share biometrics from home on an RPM platform that, according to Eileen, has a similar feel to an online game.
The best part? Everyone wins. Angie gets to practice at the top of her license, helping patients become invested partners in their own health.
All the while, her patients are empowered to feel their best—and they get to share that feeling with a nurse who cares as much as they do.
Are you a healthcare provider? Chat with us to learn how Carium can support your digital transformation.