Home Health Care NorthShore University Health System to test Laguna Health’s new post-discharge recovery app

NorthShore University Health System to test Laguna Health’s new post-discharge recovery app


Recovery after surgery or a major procedure can be a challenging and, at times, fragmented process. One company is attempting to change that with an application that aims to personalize post-hospital discharge recovery.

Launched Wednesday, Laguna Health’s app provides patients with educational materials, customized recovery plans and virtual access to a care team. Their goal is to improve the recovery journey and reduce the risk of readmissions, which often represent a high price tag for providers.

Not only do readmissions within a month of discharge indicate poor outcomes, but they also drive up costs. As a result, the move to value-based care includes a wholesale effort to reduce readmissions. In fact, through its Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services penalizes hospitals whose readmission rates are too high. For fiscal year 2021, Medicare cut payments to 2,545 hospitals.

This could help pique provider interest in the Laguna Health app. In fact, Evanston, Illinois-based NorthShore University Health System is collaborating with the company to test the tool through a clinical trial.

The app is the next step in Laguna Health’s evolution. About six months ago, the company launched a browser-based web solution that only provided basic telehealth services, said Yoni Shtein, CEO of the company. The new app, on the other hand, offers far more digital capabilities to engage patients.

“Before it was primarily a human-driven interaction, and now it’s primarily a digital interaction and you can throttle up and down your support with a coach if and when you want to [or] need to,” said Shtein in a phone interview.

The app ingests two core instruction sets from providers. The first is the discharge summary and the second is the after-visit summary, which is the document routed to the physician in charge of following up with the patient. The app breaks down instructions from both summaries into individual steps for patients to follow.

Further, patients can use the app to chat or have a video visit with their care team and behavioral health specialists, who help provide emotional support through the recovery journey.

“[The app] is going to open up a wide range of options for patients,” said Dr. Mark Lampert, deputy head of the cardiology division at NorthShore University Health System, in a phone interview. “Not every patient is alike. Some patients need more and some need less.”

The health system, which was already engaged in a clinical trial of the browser-based solution Laguna Health had previously launched, will now upgrade the trial to focus on the app. NorthShore will work collaboratively with the company as it continues to refine its tool, providing feedback to the developers.

Currently, the trial is focused on cardiovascular disease. But Lampert believes the concept can be applied to other conditions, including long Covid.

Researchers plan to include more than 700 patients in the trial, which is slated to close by the end of the year. So far, about 212 have participated and readmissions fell by around 75% for those patients who engaged with Laguna Health for their recovery journey, Shtein said.

Based on trial results, NorthShore will decide whether or not to deploy the app systemwide.

In parallel with the trial, the company is moving toward commercialization.

Laguna Health faces fierce competition, from both care navigation companies like Accolade and Grand Rounds as well as digital health companies such as Hinge Health and Livongo. But, Shtein believes the company will find a place in the market as it focuses on the entire episode of recovery, which can often take months, and examines recovery needs across conditions.

Laguna Health raised $6.6 million in seed funding back in May. It has plans to raise another round of funding later in the year to advance commercialization and expand both the research and development and clinical teams, Shtein said.

Photo credit: AJ_Watt, Getty Images, Laguna Health 












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