In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, patient-centric solutions are at the forefront of infusion therapy innovation. At Uptiv, we are committed to not only meeting but exceeding the needs and expectations of patients seeking infusion therapy. Our infusion platform has been designed with a singular focus: to provide exceptional care with a world-class, holistic patient experience.
To highlight the impact of our platform, we recently sat down with Robin Farmanfarmaian, a patient advocate and international thought leader on healthcare technology, who graciously shared her personal infusion journey and thoughts on technology in the management of chronic health conditions in a Q&A session.
- Healthcare can learn from consumer obsessed companies like Amazon and Google when designing the patient experience based on smart use of technology
- Site of care and healthcare teams matter more than you think in your ability to recover and heal
- As a patient, you are empowered to choose your provider and infusion setting
As a teenager, I was misdiagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I’ve had 43 hospitalizations and six major surgeries, including the surgical removal of my entire large intestine at the age of 19 (total colectomy with J-pouch), which was considered a cure. I was left untreated for IBD for seven years after that set of surgeries. As the pain was so severe, I was prescribed high dose opioids, eventually up to 80 mg a day of methadone. It was at the age of 26 that I fired my entire healthcare team and took full control of my health. I rebuilt my care team, was successfully diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and after my first Remicade IV medication treatment, went into remission overnight.
For the first 15 years I was on Remicade, I got it infused in hospital infusion clinics. While I love my doctors, the environment was not great. It was one giant room with some room dividers, no windows, and 16 patients getting IV medication at a time. You could hear every conversation, televisions blaring, and the worst part—high pitched alarms beeping constantly. Because only the nurses could turn off the alarms, every alarm lasted 2-3 minutes, minimum. At the time, Remicade was given at progressively increasing speed over 2-3 hours, so even my own IV pole would beep at least five times for two or three minutes. For hungry patients, there were saltines, graham crackers, and sandwiches made with packaged bread, mayo, and processed cheese.
I would go home and every part of my body would hurt. It would take about seven days to recover, and since I get this medication every six weeks, I was spending about eight weeks of my life a YEAR recovering from the infusion.
For years I assumed it was the medication. But about seven years ago, my insurance company told me if I wanted to stay on Remicade I’d have to get it done in the home or in a freestanding infusion clinic. Immediately, my recovery time went from the hard core seven days to a very minimal zero to two days, max. It wasn’t the medication making me feel sick; it was getting my medication in an environment with constant noise, alarms, harsh cleaning chemicals, and of course, infectious disease. Over the past seven years, this one switch to a healthier infusion environment has given me back over 14 months—over a full year of less pain and suffering.
Meet patients the way they want to communicate, via text messages and emails. If you’re providing snacks, healthy choices like fruit, yogurt, nuts, and vegetables are best. And most importantly, change the IV pole alarms to lights and/or app watch or phone vibrations to the patient’s assigned nurse. Require headphones for televisions.
4. How can technology be integrated into the chronic disease journey? What impact can integrated technology have on the overall patient experience?
Sensors and digital apps can be integrated into the chronic disease journey for remote monitoring and as digital therapeutics.
For example, Propeller Health is a company with a sensor that fits onto an existing inhaler to track when, where, and how often someone is using their inhaler. In asthma, just the addition of the sensor and corresponding digital therapeutic results in a 58% increase in medication adherence and a 78% reduction in the use of a rescue inhaler.
Another example is Biofourmis’ use of predictive analytics. By analyzing an individual patient’s physiologic data against a population metadata set, Biofourmis can predict that individual’s disease trajectory. This allows the patient and care team to get ahead of problems, and practice offensive medicine instead of what we normally do in healthcare—defensive medicine. The AI analytics engine also compares the individual’s data with themselves, including position, posture, and activity, and can catch the individual’s slight changes, which could indicate a problem or explain a false alarm. These subtle changes probably wouldn’t have been noticed by a human clinician but can be seen in the patient’s measurement data.
5. What are 3 key takeaways that you would want to share with other patients based on your experience with infusion therapy?
Environment does matter. IV monitoring alarms should be silenced for non-emergencies, not just if the IV shuts down due to a line kink, or if the medication speed needs to be increased. High-pitched alarms should be for actual emergencies.
The health team matters. If you have the same nurse frequently, that person gets to know you and your body, and can notice when things are slightly different.
Patients do have choices. As much as it may seem we don’t, we do have a choice where to receive our healthcare. The healthcare industry is changing quickly due to technology and government legislation. Our copays can change dramatically from clinic to clinic and provider to provider. Over the next five years, as big tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google continue to expand into the healthcare industry, the patient experience they provide will become much more the norm.
Creating a better infusion experience for patients
Robin’s healthcare journey highlights the challenges and opportunities that Uptiv Health was created to address and improve. A convenient and seamless patient app, modern infusion centers with Wi-Fi-enabled private suites, weekend appointments, and transparent pricing are more than just features for us—they’re pillars upon which we’ve built our platform for whole-person care.
We understand that seeking infusion therapy can be a daunting journey. That’s why Uptiv is dedicated to providing a frictionless and supportive experience for patients like Robin. Our commitment to patient-centric care is at the heart of everything we do, and we will continue to innovate and evolve to meet the unique needs of every individual who entrusts us with their care.
If you’re looking for a healthcare partner that prioritizes your well-being and offers a revolutionary approach to infusion therapy, we invite you to learn more about Uptiv. Your health and comfort are our top priorities, and we are here to ensure that your journey is not only one of healing but also one of empowerment and peace of mind.
About Robin Farmanfarmaian
Robin Farmanfarmaian has been involved with over 20 early-stage startups in cutting edge pharma, medical device, and AI enabled software. These include companies focused on vaccines, inhaled insulin, virtual reality for radiology, remote patient monitoring, TMS, and small molecule candidates found through AI for drug discovery, including one on the p53 pathway, a critical pathway in oncology.
With over 200 keynotes in 15 countries, she educates audiences on trends and technologies intersecting healthcare, including artificial intelligence, longevity, and the shift in healthcare delivery to the patient’s home. She is the author of 4 books, including “The Patient as CEO: How Technology Empowers the Healthcare Consumer” (2015) and “How AI Can Democratize Healthcare: The Rise in Digital Care” (2022).
About Uptiv Health
Uptiv Health is redefining infusion therapy for patients suffering from chronic conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and others. Treating the whole person, Uptiv Health offers a hybrid experience with comfortable, highly personalized in-person care, including services to support patients’ overall wellbeing and a consumer-friendly digital platform. Via a user-friendly app, patients can onboard without paperwork, consult with their care team, schedule appointments, check-in, handle payments and monitor their symptoms. Uptiv Health accepts Medicare, is in-network with many health insurance plans in Michigan and provides completely transparent upfront pricing, at a substantially lower cost than traditional hospital infusion treatment centers.