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Aces Health Puts Well-Being Into Your Pocket

by Muriel Vega

A common “condition” of going to the doctor is blanking out. We often forget what medications we are on or their occasional symptoms as soon as the doctor asks how we’ve been. Aces Health wants to make your patient experience smarter, taking the pressure of remembering out of your brain and into your hands into through an app that syncs with your fitbit or bluetooth inhaler.

Soon you’ll be able to have constant patient monitoring, as well as engage efficiently with your doctor’s plan by not forgetting to take your medication. Better yet, it improves clinical trial outcomes.

So, Hypepotamus caught up with Aces Heath founders, Jordan Spivack, CEO, David Heenan, CBDO, and Brad Schweizer, COO. The trio just wrapped a stint in Little Rock, AR, where they attended a healthcare accelerator working with BCBS and the Baptist Health Hospital system. Now, along with an advisory board with experience in clinical research, marketing, sales, and regulatory approval, they are ready to take Aces Health to the next level.

What’s your current funding situation?

We raised a friends and family round in July 2015, followed by an investment by Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield and Baptist Health Hospital System in March 2016. Up next, we’ll be heading to San Francisco for 4 months to take part in a SaaS accelerator in the heart of Silicon Valley. We are looking to partner with investors who have experience in healthcare and share our passion for moving the needle. We are currently engaged with investors here in Atlanta as well as Nashville, DC, San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami.

Aces-Pharma-Desktop-Dashboard-GaugesWhat’s your pitch?

Aces Health is a patient-centric digital solution for clinical research and healthcare. Using an intuitively designed smartphone app and an ecosystem of connected health devices like Fitbits and Bluetooth inhalers, we transform the patient experience to improve adherence and compliance to medical regimens outside the doctor’s office.

Our platform simplifies patient engagement in pharmaceutical trials while allowing researchers to leverage mobile technology, enabling real time data capture and decreasing patient attrition. In addition, Aces Health has been lauded by providers and payers in the healthcare industry for the potential of our technology to track and improve patient outcomes.

How’d you get the idea for it?

The inception of Aces Health was a bit of a perfect storm. The core technology came when co-founder Jordan Spivack was working on algorithms to predict consumer behavior and improve marketing automation, but for much gaudier verticals: expensive hotels, resorts, and casinos. But after working on the idea with David Heenan, who had previously been on the editorial staff for a CDC research journal, and conversations with our lead designer who had worked in clinical research for years, we realized the same technology would fill a much bigger need in healthcare.

So we pivoted to become that virtual concierge for patients, complete with precision insights, direct communication, and high tech data capture — we wanted to give everyone the same personalized experience available previously only for the fortunate few.

Aces-Pharma-Desktop-DashboardWhat problem are you solving?

Medication nonadherence and lack of patient engagement are two of the primary drivers of healthcare costs and negative health outcomes, from clinical trials to population health. In fact, one-third of all medication prescriptions are never filled, and less than 50% of RX that are filled are taken consistently enough to be considered medically acceptable. This problem then leads to the high costs we see in at-risk populations from complications that arise, including worsening of symptoms and eventually hospitalization (and even more detrimental, rehospitalization or worse).

We believe there are 2 pieces of the adherence puzzle for healthier patients: personalizing and monitoring treatment regimens to ensure they are working, and only then engaging these patients through follow-up notifications to keep them on target.

What’s the benefit of someone connecting their entire health journey to Aces Health?

In addition to empowering patients with information and tools to better manage their health or chronic condition, Aces also allows doctors to make more personalized health recommendations based on accurate lifestyle data. The status quo now is that a doctor would have to take your word for it, assuming the medication was administered properly (the average person is about 65% compliant and 1 out of every 3 prescriptions is never even filled), and they would either prescribe stronger medication or start treating you for something else unnecessarily.

Our core belief is that “health records” should be exactly how they sound, records of how healthy you are, not just records that capture when you get sick. It’s a term the industry needs to turn on its head. What are the main factors Aces Health is tracking?

The primary data points we track are all around adherence to medical plans — these are set by physicians, whether it’s your PCP, a specialist, or a clinical scientist when you’re participating in a clinical trial. For instance, one of our pilot customers is a really innovative multi-state autism research study, and they’re using our platform to capture patient biomarkers throughout the day like heart rate and skin temperature by giving fitness bands to participants. Since they’re also studying the environmental factors that affect autism spectrum disorders, they can utilize Aces to track interesting factors that affect stress, like travel and weather conditions.

How do you collect these data points?

We are device agnostic, meaning we will collect data from any source that patients and providers determine they want to connect. This can be through our patent pending API for many-to-one connections with devices, through user generated response, natural language analysis of our HIPAA-compliant chat, or other apps on a patient device that they give us permission to access, like the Fitbit wellness app.

How safe is this as far as HIPAA and other privacy issues?

We’re HIPAA compliant as well as FDA 21 CFR Part 11, HITECH and an alphabet  of other healthcare acronyms — when you’re a company that handles private user records, especially data that’s as unique and personal as health records, security has to be the first priority. We’ve been told by key organizations that because of the proprietary way we handle patient identifiable data, we’re actually the most secure of our competitors on the

What’s your current revenue model?

Aces currently sells our software B2B to clinical research sponsors, CRO’s, and healthcare providers using a SaaS model, with a small upfront fee and a per-member-per-month licensing fee for their patients to use the app. We’ve seen a lot of excitement for this model from clients. Instead of paying a chunk of cash at the beginning if a trial doesn’t recruit enough members, our customers only pay for what they use, so there’s much less risk associated. This is the kind of business model the whole industry will eventually need to move to if we’re going to see real progress in bringing clinical research prices down.

Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?

Some local startups are working on cool products, but they’re more targeted for one population group of patients rather than a platform that has the firepower to help improve health for everyone. Our biggest differentiator is the strides we make in the clinical research space, which is really the most exciting frontier for us. We’re also efficient and agile enough to price out most of the competition — healthcare technology companies tend to be highly expensive and slow moving. Aces has made it a priority to be a different kind of health tech startup.

How does ATL weave into your story?

The fact that we are based out of Atlanta has been a blessing and a curse for us. Although Atlanta doesn’t yet have the clout of San Francisco or NYC as a tech hub, this “underdog status” has forced us to continually evaluate the strength of our value proposition to ensure that we are delivering a product that customers actually need and will pay for, giving us a distinct advantage over other startups with more funding but a hazier path to profitability. A lot of startups in the area are going through a similar process, which is why Atlanta has quickly become a major hub for B2B-focused tech companies. As co-founders, we’ve made it a point to find the best talent available and bring them on board, whether that’s been in Atlanta, Miami, DC, Albuquerque… but ATL will always be our home.

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