Health care reform is a central issue in our country today, particularly right now during election season.
Regardless of which candidates win and which policy initiatives are enacted, we are trending toward an era where the focus shifts from the traditional one-on-one transactional approach to a model where physicians are asked to manage the health of a population to keep costs manageable.
Dr. Peter Mills has long had an interest in merging technology with health care. This was the driver behind vielife, an employee wellness software company he previously launched with others and eventually and sold to Cigna in 2006.
Now, Mills is pushing a new technological solution designed to help providers adapt to the changing health care climate by more efficiently managing and engaging with their patients. nGage Health is a cloud-based online platform accessible to providers and patients, opening new channels of communication that will ideally help people stay better informed about their health. The key focus – one that is preached by many aiming to improve the efficiency of the health care system – is preventative care.
“We’ve perpetuated a fee-for-service, episodic model of health care where we only see our patients when they’re sick,” says Mills. “We’re not interested in seeing them when they’re well, or in giving them very much advice with regards to their lifestyle and behavior, etc.”
“With health care reform, that’s definitely changing.”
nGage integrates with a provider’s existing health records and features a dashboard that presents real-time data on their entire patient population. Through communicative functionality and progress tracking, the software allows a provider to establish an ongoing dialogue with patients, particularly those that profile as “at-risk.”
Mills hails from London but selected Minnesota as the site to headquarter his new business, since he has past connections here from his vielife venture and views the state as a “health care hub” in the United States. Running nGage along with him are cofounder Simon Armstrong and Creative Director Sean Eligon.
The company is B2B, marketing to health care providers that can integrate it within their clinic workflow and offer it as an engagement service for patients. Currently nGage has four clients – three in the US, one in the UK. Mills refers to these as “partner clients,” pointing out that his solution is a work in progress and these clients are helping to organically shape the final product.
With these four partner clients, nGage was profitable in its first year.
“That’s the way I want to run the business,” says Mills. “We may get to a point down the line where we want to accelerate growth and bring some money in… but in this initial stage, let’s keep it self-sustainable and spend just what we make.”