Getting ‘Better’ with a personal health assistant

Is Better going to where better healthcare should be?

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]Making its formal debut last week was Better, an iPhone app (Android to come) developed in conjunction with and backed by the Mayo Clinic. The aim of Better is to deliver information and care no matter where people are located. The analogy co-founder/CEO Geoff Clapp uses is ‘AAA (RAC or AA=UK) for healthcare’ but it seems to be a bit more developed than emergency tows and TripTiks. In its free version, it provides complete access to Mayo Clinic educational content tailored to the user’s interests and provides access to a personal health record (PHR) for the family. In the $49/month premium version, Mayo provides 24/7 national access to a personal health assistant available by phone and video. The PHAs can coordinate your and your family’s providers, help navigate your insurance and billing and coordinate follow up care. If needed, the PHA can connect the user with a Mayo Clinic nurse who can explain symptoms, potential causes and recommend next steps. The paid version also provides a symptom checker, built with algorithms and using the Mayo database.

According to Mr Clapp (interviewed in Mobihealthnews), Better is ‘early’ and trying to define a market. He is encouraged by remarks such as “I’m not sure I totally get it and not sure the world is ready for this” which is similar to what he heard when co-founding Health Hero (now Bosch Health Buddy) in 1998 (among the most Grizzled of Grizzled Pioneers). Also in this interview, he cites a focus on underserved disease groups such as Crohn’s Disease and cystic fibrosis where help is not generally available; eventually they will also move toward telemedicine. Since the sale. he has been mentoring companies at Rock Health. Better has raised $5 million to date between Mayo and Social+Capital Partnership and is located in Palo Alto, California. It’s an interesting spin on concierge medicine–can it be considered ‘concierge healthcare for the masses?’ Given the pedigree and the partners, we expect to hear bigger, better things from Better in the next few months. Also MedCityNews,  the PSFK Labs blog and FastCompany. Video (YouTube)  Hat tips to Bob Pyke, Editor Toni Bunting

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  1. Thanks so much for the comments. It’s still very early, and we have a lot to do, a lot to learn, and a to fix, but we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. There is nothing better than helping real people.

    You are right to call out the “AAA” ( or RAC?) analogy – comparing amazing healthcare professionals to tow-trucks and roadside service falls apart quickly in it’s visuals! But, there’s a big change afoot of the role of consumers in healthcare and we want to be out in front – just like Health Hero (thanks to Steve Brown’s great vision) was with remote patient monitoring and re-admission. People laughed at us when we talked about readmission, and now its law. We see trends in the data that looks a lot like the early days of Health Hero. Let’s just hope we’re not *that* early this time!

    We’re lucky to have great partners in the Mayo Clinic, who share our vision on the future of tele health and remote care. We have a few big things planned over the next few months, as we move from the MVP/1.0 phase to a more mature product. If any of your readers want to try out the service, have them contact me directly and I can get them set up. I’d really appreciate the feedback and opportunity to learn from your community.

    Very best,