EngageHealth Optimizes How Patients and Providers Evaluate and Monitor Heart Health
Scientists and clinicians have made amazing progress in the treatment of breast cancer over the last 20 years. If discovered early enough, more than 90 percent of patients are expected to survive more than five years post-diagnosis.
However, reports from the American Heart Association (ACA) and others raise the alert that breast cancer survivors risk a higher rate of heart health conditions than their non-cancer peers.
EngageHealth, a software as a medical device spinout from The Ohio State University (OSU), is focused on addressing the epidemic of cardiovascular disease in breast cancer survivors with aHEART (Heart-health Evaluation Algorithm in Real Time). This tool that gives clinicians one-click power to address the heart health epidemic in breast cancer survivors.
“We’re at the starting gate to preventing avoidable deaths due to un-addressed heart health conditions in women who have successfully won their battle against breast cancer,” said Andee Peabody, EngageHealth’s founder and CEO.
“The ‘EngageHealth’ name comes from engaging patients, in this case, breast cancer survivors and clinicians,” Peabody said, “with meaningful, real-time, health solutions that happen to be technology-based. aHEART delivers standardized heart health assessment and monitoring AND also yields benefits to the clinicians using the tool.”
Breast Cancer Survivors Have a Higher Rate of Heart Health Conditions and Heart-Related Deaths
EngageHealth sees breast cancer survivors as their first use-case, with other heart health complication cancers to follow.
“Radiating the chest can be damaging to heart health,” said Margorie Kelley, Ph.D., The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Department of Biology. Dr. Kelley’s research focuses on using patient-centered technology to promote health and prevent illness. “Some drugs can harm blood vessels,” she said. “Some are harmful to heart muscle. The cancer treatment process itself is physically and mentally exhausting.”
Up to 70 Percent of Breast Cancer Survivors Do Not Meet Recommended Guidelines for Heart Health
Despite a decade of recommendations for improved prevention efforts and care coordination, heart health continues to be undertreated in this population. The seven areas for comprehensive heart health may not be assessed comprehensively and can be over-shadowed by easy-to-make but hard-to-implement recommendations of “eat better, exercise five days per week, and quit smoking and drinking alcohol.”
But when a survivor is physically and mentally recovering from breast cancer treatment—IV chemotherapy, radiation, oral chemotherapy, and possible multiple surgeries for mastectomy and breast reconstruction—it can be overwhelming to consider heart health and all the factors that go into it.
“The survivors I have spoken with want health,” Dr. Kelley said, “but when you hand someone a big packet of paper and show them the door, it is hard. Survivors are used to cancer treatment that is customized to their disease, and they want their recovery and health goals to be personalized.”
EngageHealth is working closely with patients and clinicians to build a platform that integrates the data from patient wearables and Bluetooth medical devices, agnostically with patients’ electronic health records (EHR), to serve breast cancer survivors wherever they are, including rural and urban populations.