Once a patient leaves the hospital or doctor’s office, Pattern Health ensures they are not gone forever. As a digital health platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company, Durham’s Pattern Health allows clinicians and researchers to create advanced apps for specific medical conditions to increase adherence to medical treatment and directions while elevating overall well-being for patients.
Chief Growth Officer Tim Horan described Pattern Health as a Wix for digital health instead of website creation. At the beginning of this year, the startup launched a new service that allows partners to take the digital health programs they developed on Pattern Health’s platform and create a marketplace for sharing and licensing those programs to other health systems and employers.
At its inception, CEO and Co-Founder Ed Barber met his other co-founder, Ed Holzwarth, through working together when Durham’s mobile user acquisition network company Appia—where Barber worked—hired Holzwarth’s Little Green Software (which recently merged with custom software solutions expert One Cow Standing). They made a connection, realizing they both had a passion for healthcare.
Barber felt this firsthand, having dealt with Type 1 diabetes since he was 5 years old. He didn’t understand why technology in the mobile space for healthcare was so far behind. So Barber and Holzwarth launched Pattern Health in 2016 with a prototype to help patients manage hypertension, which brought the startup the confidence to go bigger.
“We were very confident we could build an experience patients liked,” Barber said. “So the impetus was, how do we take that and make it bigger? One of the things we realized is that to really bend the cost curve in this space we needed to engage those people who weren’t actively selecting into their health management, who weren’t the Fitbit crowd.”
Pattern Health did indeed go bigger. After the prototype, the Ed duo reached out to Dan Ariely, the founder of Duke’s Center for Advanced Hindsight, which has helped Pattern Health incorporate insights from behavioral science within their platform. Now, Pattern Health has over 30 digital health programs developed by more than 10 academic, medical and research organizations.
Network-based models can propel innovation in this space, Horan said of Pattern Health’s impact.
“It’s really about accelerating that whole innovation process in healthcare,” Horan said. “So in our worlds previous to this, you could launch a program, get feedback, and iterate on it really quickly. But healthcare just hasn’t been as innovative or fast-moving. So our platform can sort of help accelerate that innovation process.”
Growth, Growth, Growth
Pattern Health’s digital health programs are used by over 200 unique health systems, independent practices and companies, helping more than 20,000 people per month in managing their health.
Said Barber, “We think everyone on the team is really excited about the way we can help just empower people that are the best at what they do in a given specific medical field do that better and impact more people’s lives. It’s taking our skill set, what we do best, and putting it out there in a way that can really help improve conditions all the way from wellness to transplants.”
Barber said in one study tracking the adherence to a specific care plan for heart failure, Pattern Health’s digital health program increased adherence by around 90 percent.
Holzwarth said, “Many of these medical experts who we work with are really happy to have that behavioral science expertise because they have the medical expertise. But it’s always a little easier said than done to [get patients to] actually follow the plan, which is where it really helps to have a platform that helps people adhere and engage with the program.”
For Pattern Health, which has made six times its full-year 2018 revenue in the first six months of 2019, Horan said increasing the number of digital programs developed and the lives they impact is what the team focuses on.
“Our goal really is just to continue to expand the footprint,” Horan said. “Looking at those ecosystem numbers over the next couple of years, I think our goal is to become the platform of choice for most every academic medical center that’s doing a lot of cool research work in this space. Then ultimately build up this library of programs that are basically authored and created by leaders in their field and just do everything we can to simplify the process of getting it in as many people’s hands as possible.”