Pophealth Booster

Let’s join force to end health disparities using technology!

Problem: Studies from the Institute of Medicine have uncovered that only 50% of patients are getting recommended cares in the US. Example: It’s estimated by WHO and US HHS that about 500 million people worldwide are chronically infected by HBV or HCV, and 70% of them are not getting tested and treated. Many of these chronic hepatitis patients will face liver failure or liver cancer, which cause about 1 million death per year. Such shocking health disparities also exists more broadly.

Cause: Chronic diseases like hepatitis can be effectively controlled with modern medications if they are treated earlier. Why are we not doing it? I have learned from Dr. Sam So, a liver surgeon at Stanford and a pioneer of public campaign against hepatitis, that the reason is surprisingly simple. For example, medical guidelines for HBV and HCV very often are not followed through in clinics, and patients are not aware of the deadly consequence of viral hepatitis.

Solution: My analysis leads to a simple technology solution: Embed medical guidelines as an application in routine care workflow to auto-detect health care disparities and trigger doctors and patients to remove the disparities at the point of care. There are published clinical studies indicating disparities in certain diseases can be eliminated by clinical practice closely adhere to the medical guidelines.

Open source: HHS has already set the foundation for this solution with its open source PopHealth platform. PopHealth is designed to measure care quality for meaningful use reporting purpose. To implement the Booster solution for health care disparities, we need to move one step forward from quality measures to personalized recommendation and alerts for patients based on medical guidelines. After the first prototype was quickly developed, Pophealth Booster was made open source on Google code. With this open source Pophealth Booster project, hopefully more developers will join force to build the first free health equity software.

Collaboration: To win the battle against health disparities, we need not only technology but also collaboration from clinics, advocates, philanthropy community, and government initiatives. US HHS has formed the National Partnership for Action (NPA) to End Disparities, a public-private partnership encouraging collaborative efforts. As a volunteer serving on NPA Regional Health Equity Council, my mission is to build collaborations for implementing simple and effective technology solutions like Pophealth Booster to eliminate disparities in chronic diseases such as hepatitis. Given the strong support from HHS, I feel confident that this mission is not impossible. 


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