14 November 2019

Prototype will make it easier to follow complex treatment plans

| Lighthouse Innovation
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George MacLean Azumah from MedConnect

George MacLean Azumah from MedConnet. Photo: Supplied.

Founder and CEO of MedConnet, George MacLean Azumah, began his journey in the healthcare industry at the tender age of 10.

Starting as a counter-drug sales assistant in a small community in Ghana, by the time George had reached high school he was involved in managing the store. George noticed that the people from his grandmother’s village would travel long distances to reach the pharmacy and when he asked why someone did not open a pharmacy in their village, George was told the people were too poor and couldn’t pay. This was the beginning of George’s interest in making healthcare, and especially treatment plans, more accessible to everyone.

As an ANU Medical Science student, George applied his entrepreneurial skills to the problem and with a strong team of advisers and software engineers supporting him, MedConnet was the result.

The MedConnet app is currently being trialled by a number of Canberra medical practices.

It will allow your doctor to build and monitor a tailored treatment plan for you. It will incorporate the medicines that have been prescribed; rehabilitation actions you are required to do; things that you need to measure (such as your blood pressure or blood glucose); and other monitoring requests. As the patient, you will then interact with your treatment plan using your own mobile app login. This sends you reminders to follow your treatment plan and reports back to your doctor.

According to George, where MedConnet really adds value is in managing post-consultation care. It provides real-time access to remote monitoring which can be really difficult in regional areas.

“This can have a major impact on the quality of care and the treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes as well as continuity of care following hospital discharge,” says George.

The MedConnet app is built on three principles: it is data-driven artificial intelligence (AI); evidence-based; and patient-centred.

George believes this is especially important when patients have complex medical needs and may be under the care of a number of different specialists.

George gives the example of a patient who has hypertension or high blood pressure and chronic heart failure. They would be treated by a cardiologist, but if they were also suffering from osteoarthritis of the hip, the patient may also be receiving treatment by an Orthopaedic specialist. If the specialist treating the hip wanted to prescribe pain relief, MedConnet can advise whether there are any contra-indications with other drugs that the patient has been prescribed by other members of their medical team. In this instance, MedConnet will go green indicating a safe drug, or red indicating a contraindicated drug, unsafe for the patient.

“Drug interactions and medication compliance are a major issue when it comes to patients with complex needs,” says George.

“Through MedConnet your medical team can send you reminders about when to take your medicines and also remind you to get your prescription refilled.

“Where lifestyle changes are required as part of your treatment plan, you may be asked to take measurements using home medical devices like a blood pressure monitor or a wearable device like a Fitbit. These can allow your medical team to monitor your blood pressure, sleep quality and activity level and make suggestions.”

George sees the potential for a platform like MedConnet to help provide a clearer picture of a patient’s health. Incorporating the ability to record and monitor:

  • Heart rate (pulse)
  • Sleep quality
  • Oxygen levels (Asthma)
  • Blood Glucose levels (Diabetes)
  • Medication compliance
  • Referrals
  • Discharge summaries
  • Photos to record the progress of wound healing or skin checks
  • Lab reports

George says that a lot of focus has been on ensuring that messaging between the doctor and patient can be done securely. A recent recipient of the Epicorp Development Loan Fund, MedConnet will be using the funds on further software development.

For more information, visit MedConnet.

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