Tunstall Healthcare is partnering with Canadian mHealth developer Tactio Health Group in what is a distinct first for them: creating a mobile care management system that is 1) smartphone-based for the patient and 2) prominently integrates non-Tunstall apps and devices. The patient uses the smartphone and the Tactio-developed mTrax app to collect a wide spectrum of data–everything from activity, sleep, pregnancy, body fat and mood tracking to the traditional constellation of vital signs. This uploads to the care provider’s tablet mPro Clinical App which overviews, details and reports the data for each patient and patient groups in care. The data comes from well-known mHealth apps outside the Tunstall world: BodyMedia, Fitbit, Fitbug, Garmin, Jawbone UP, Medisana and Wahoo Fitness, as well as connected (presumably Bluetooth) medical devices from A&D Medical, Mio, iHealth, Telcare, Withings and Nonin. Tunstall has also added two-way patient coaching and health journal features.
Tunstall’s positioning for what they call Active Health Management or AHM is “supported self-management” and “shift(ing) from reactive care to cost-effective active care.” Start date will be next month in the UK with eventual rollout to 10 other “main markets” (no indication on whether that will include the US or any part of Tunstall Americas).
Can this be a big winner for Tunstall? To this Editor, this represents a move for Tunstall away from its traditional ‘telehealthcare’ long-term, higher-acuity patient care model to include less acute (but still) patients, for example in care transition (e.g. from hospitals or rehabilitation) or managed care. But a system like this requires, at least in the beginning, existing strong market presence (as in the UK) and a payment model to support not only the device and care management costs, but also the app subscription costs which can be considerable. How this moves the Tunstall business in a high-potential home care but insurer-dominated market like the US, where the Tunstall core business is still PERS and there are other competitive systems, is unclear.
(Some free advice to Tunstall: ‘ActiveHealth Management’ is the population health management subsidiary of insurer Aetna in the US, often referred to as AHM. Though the context differs, this Editor suspects that this represents an infringement on Aetna’s trade name, because this system applies to healthcare and managing patient populations. And no, the fact that Aetna merges together the first two words makes no difference in this Editor’s experience in marketing and trademark protection.)