Israel-based Danny Oberman sat down to chat with us about his new management tool for cardiac patients, CathMaps+. With a strong background in a variety of startups including Stepping Stones and Nefesh B’Nefesh, CathMaps+ is Danny’s first major foray into medicine with a product aimed at providing cardiac patients peace of mind. CathMaps+ represents an effort that, for Danny, hits very close to home.
Michael Batista, Medgadget: Where did the concept for CathMaps+ originate?
Danny Oberman: In June 2013 I had a heart attack; I have a cardiac history so it this was not my first incident. I ended up at a hospital Cath Lab where I had a new stent inserted. Afterwards, I was told there was a chance this could happen again. My doctor recommended I carry around my medical records including a copy of my EKG and information about the stent such as type and location. Having to keep track of all this information seemed a bit unruly so I did some homework looking for an app that would help me keep track of my medical information but could not find what I needed. Wondering why there was no good solution and thinking about what it would take to make one, I began to delve a bit deeper.
Medgadget: What did your research turn up?
Oberman: I found that for many patients with heart conditions, there is a significant chance they do not end up being treated at the same hospital, especially since these patients often seek care under emergency conditions. As my doctors pointed out to me, in the event that I ended up somewhere else with a future heart issue, during this very traumatic experience, I would somehow have to convey to clinicians, who may have never seen me before, all these very important facts about my personal cardiac history. The prospect of having to deal with this situation seemed daunting and the options available were not optimal.
I also learned that while many patients end up at hospitals, not every hospital is equipped with a Cath Lab and not every Cath Lab has the same capabilities, some are only for diagnostics and not all are open 24/7. I travel frequently so I need to know which medical institutions I should go to in case of an emergency.
Medgadget: How did these findings become CathMaps+?
Oberman: I began mapping the locations and details of hospitals and clinics while simultaneously drafting a business plan. I brought the idea to cardiologists who thought it was a great idea. Out of the initial feedback and early funding the company launched as your classic “garage startup.”
Medgadget: What are the features of CathMaps+ and who are the target users?
Oberman: Around one million patients are treated in Cath Labs each year in the United States. CathMaps+ is a mobile application available on both iOS and Android platforms for patients with cardiac history who are concerned and apprehensive about their next attack and who are looking for peace of mind. The application gives these patients security through simple and direct features focused on patient data and healthcare access.
In the application, patients can keep track of their cardiac health by recording details such as past attacks, surgeries, and implants in a personal medical record. This record can be easily shared with a medical professional via email before the patient arrives at the healthcare facility or when the patient arrives by handing over their phone. This alleviates the challenge of needing the patient to either verbally communicate this critical information or carry around hard copies of these records. In the event that the patient is incapacitated, CathMaps+ allows patients to plan ahead and share their cardiac records with a friend or family member who can then provide the important information to a cardiologist.
In case of an emergency, the application stores emergency phone number for each country and provides a global catheterization facility map to help the patient know where the closest medical institution with Cath Lab support is located.
Medgadget: Who makes up the CathMaps+ team?
Oberman: The team has expanded to include our technical lead, Allegra Dan, our marketing specialist, and myself, all based in Israel. Currently, much of the development, research, and database management have been outsourced. Beyond the company, we leverage the knowledge and abilities of patients and providers around the world to keep our database information up to date. Our users, patients and providers, are constantly on the lookout to make sure we know about any new or changing resources in their area.
Medgadget: Is there any regulatory consideration for CathMaps+?
Oberman: CathMaps+ is HIPAA compliant. However, we also designed the system to meet the demands of our users. Consider an event where a patient has had an attack and is disabled, they want to be able to easily share their personal cardiac record with a cardiologist or through a family or friend without having to use input a password to unlock the data. In an emergency situation, an inability to access this information can significantly impair the facilities’ ability to treat a patient.
Medgadget: How do you drive adoption?
Oberman: Through focus groups we’ve begun to spread the work about CathMaps+. We found that the concern level of cardiac patients is extremely high. These patients are keenly aware of what’s going on with their bodies so managing their heart health is right at the top of their priorities. Combined with the fact that the application is so easy to use, we’ve found a lot of interest and excitement from our first adopters.
Medgadget: What are the next steps for CathMaps+?
Oberman: We continue to update, manage, and validate the information populated in our databases. We’re looking forward to feedback from users who are downloading the application, checking to see if their hospital is listed, and sharing their information with family and friends. Through continued development efforts, we want to use this feedback to identify what new features we can add to the system to make sure we’re giving our users peace of mind right in their pocket.
Medgadget: Where can we get CathMaps+ and what are the costs?
Oberman: CathMaps+ is now available for users to download through iTunes and the GooglePlay store for $4.99. CathMaps+ is also available for free download to cardiologists, Cath Lab staff and cardiac rehab personnel. These medical professionals can submit a request for a download link at: http://cathmaps.com/physician/.
Medgadget: Through your work developing CathMaps+ you’ve gained quite a bit of experience in the area of mobile health. What are your thoughts on the potential of mobile health?
Oberman: We’re seeing dramatic changes, especially in the cardiac area. For example, there are increasing numbers of mobile diagnostic tools that will be and are already available to record measurements like an EKG right in the emergency room. Moving forward, insurance companies will probably push for this since someone in a hospital bed is an incredibly expensive experience.
Many different companies are developing a range of mobile health tools across many areas. We’re really seeing an aggressive push in mobile diagnostic instruments from many different companies. The main challenges of course are the FDA, in terms of getting these devices clinically approved, and the cost of care, especially in North America. I predict that remote diagnostics will indeed be a huge field and one that we intend to have some involvement with through our connection to cardiac patients.
Medgadget: If any of our readers are interested in following up, how can they get in contact or get more information?
Also, I’ll be presenting a paper at eTELEMED 2014 in Barcelona, Spain this coming March on leveraging mobile technologies in the medical realm. I’m very excited to engage with other visionaries in mobile healthcare through this forum.