ContinueWell | Improving healthcare through entrepreneurship

Team: Dr. Yomna Nassef (CAS ‘08), Dr. Evan Ou

About the Venture: An AI-powered communication platform that supports patients after discharge from the hospital, providing automated appointment scheduling, prescription reminders, and educational resources tailored to their specific medical conditions to help patients manage their medical needs at home and reducing preventable and costly hospital readmissions.

What impact will ContinueWell's solution have on society?

As emergency physicians, one of the biggest problems we encounter on a daily basis is the bounceback readmission – a patient who was just discharged from the hospital but ends up coming back to the ER because they didn’t have the tools to manage their medical needs at home. Whether it’s a patient with newly diagnosed diabetes who doesn’t understand how to administer his insulin and check his blood sugar every day or a stroke patient who suffers a second stroke because she never picked up her blood thinners from the pharmacy, most of these readmissions could have been completely prevented if all patients had timely access to outpatient care. Currently, every single patient admitted to a hospital has a 1 in 5 chance of being readmitted within 30 days of discharge, largely because only 60% of patients are able to obtain adequate and prompt follow-up care after leaving the hospital.

ContinueWell aims to ensure all patients are prepared for the transition into the post-acute setting. Using a natural language processing chatbot, we have built a communication platform that helps patients navigate the healthcare system once they leave the hospital, assisting them with appointment scheduling, providing medication reminders, and performing daily wellness checks. By empowering patients to manage their medical problems at home, we are improving patient outcomes, unloading overcrowded ERs, and taking a bite out of the $29B spent annually on preventable hospital readmissions.

Does it have the potential to advance society as a whole?

Our mission at ContinueWell is to promote health equity by improving access to care for those most in need. Vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, medically underserved, low-income individuals, and those suffering from chronic conditions face the greatest challenges in obtaining outpatient care due to the many barriers intrinsic in our fragmented healthcare system. Furthermore, it is a well known fact that being admitted (and readmitted) to the hospital takes a toll on a patient’s immune system, physical strength, circadian rhythm, and psychological well being. ContinueWell helps reduce disparities in healthcare access by ensuring all patients receive the support they need during critical transitions and breaks the cycle that keeps patients coming back to the hospital. By intervening at the critical juncture between inpatient and outpatient care, ContinueWell aims to close the gaps that stand between patients and the care they need, contributing to a healthier and more cohesive society overall.

Will it play an increasing role in assisting the lives of others?

Beyond the immediate effect of improving individuals’ health, we believe the downstream benefits of increased access to care, medication compliance, and improved health literacy are broad and numerous. Healthy communities drive economic prosperity, and good health is the best foundation for wellness, upward social mobility and community advancement.

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