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Play-It Health wants to improve patient engagement (and outcomes)

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Play-It Health is driven by a simple idea: The best way to transform healthcare is to do what we already know to do.

Kim Gandy previously worked as a pediatric heart transplant surgeon.

“I was seeing kids go through the Hail Mary of transplants, having really good transplants, but if they quit taking medications that would suppress their immune system afterwards and we would lose them,” said Gandy.

Tragedies like that motivated Gandy to start Play-It Health, a Kansas City-based health startup focused on a single mission: Improving patient engagement with their care plans.

“One of the most important things we can do to change outcomes in healthcare is to improve the adherence to already proscribed regiments–not coming up with the next magic bullet drug,” said Kim Gandy, founder of Play-It Health. “If we can’t get them to take the drug, it’s not going to make any difference.”

How Play-It Health works

Play-It Health is a mobile device platform that both tracks behavior and provides important education for patients when they are away from the hospital. Patients receive reminders for medication and appointments. The system also integrates with wearable devices, smart thermometers and activity trackers. The data gathered can be shared with hospitals and pharmacies for more personalized care.

Patients work to boost their PALM score, which is broad set of activities that lead to overall better health outcomes: educational pearls (P), appointments (A), linked device date (L) and medications (M).

As their PALM score increases, patients earn points that can be used towards things like retail and grocery store purchases.

Patient engagement, that is, keeping patients focused on their health, is the difference between success and failure for many treatments.

“A little thing called life gets in the way,” said Gandy. “It’s really difficult to follow these regiments.”

The Pipeline family

Headquartered in Kansas City, Gandy has been able to take advantage of health information exchanges from St. Louis to Denver. She is also a current 2016 Pipeline Fellow. Pipeline Entrepreneurs is an organization of high-growth entrepreneurs and mentors across Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

This year Gandy went through a significant health diagnosis and found a lot of support among her Pipeline family.

“I have to say that the entire organization has been unbelievably supportive in helping me navigate pathways that aren’t in any of standard books on entrepreneurship,” said Gandy. “The business has probably come out even better than going in. I credit Pipeline for being a huge support through that whole thing.”

The future of Play-It Health

Innovation in the medical field is notoriously slow, due to regulation and the complexity of health care institutions. Although the company has been around since 2013, but it’s only this year that they’ve really started to gain traction.

“We’ve really seen things start to take off in the last six months or so,” said Gandy.

Being around for a while, however, means the platform is poised to take advantage of a host of emerging trends–activity trackers, gamification, telehealth programs and predictive analytics.

“We think that [our data] in itself will end up having significant predictive capacity,” said Gandy.

Ryan Pendell is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.