Melbourne based start-up to personalise health information for patients

HealthAide, a new Melbourne-based health technology firm, is developing a free online resource and tailored email newsletters to provide patients with reliable information on healthcare and health technology. Physiotherapist Barry Nguyen and GP Dr Khurram Akhter (who set up HealthAide last year) are applying behavioural science and artificial intelligence technology to personalise newsletters according to needs and conditions of individual patients.

HealthAide has expanded from its original concept of developing a website to provide information pertaining to health technologies, such as apps and wearables for patients. It has now moved into offering customised newsletters to general and allied health practices and plans to use artificial intelligence to personalise the content in future.

HealthAide was developed to assist patients to access reliable health technology resources. The information available online prior to this was either not credible or unorganised which resulted in unnecessary and confusing information being provided to the community.

The site was developed to feature health topics and technologies aimed to assist patients. The team is applying machine learning and data analytics to tailor emails for patients in the form of monthly newsletters. The newsletters aim to educate patients about chronic disease management and promote health technology. Similar technology is used by Netflix to suggest content to its subscribers. However, HealthAide plans to use artificial intelligence to really personalise content for patients.

Future plans of HealthAide include providing digital content that patients can look at when they are in the waiting room. HealthAide’s content is sourced from reputable not-for-profit organisations, health professional peak bodies and Australian government sites. Generally, most patients and consumers are not interested in reading about healthcare. On the other hand, communicating by video achieves a higher level of patient engagement.

The website covers multiple conditions with associated technologies, categorised into three sections:

  1. learn,
  2. track, and
  3. support.

HealthAide avoids validating the technologies themselves or anything of a diagnostic or therapeutic nature. Rather, HealthAide focuses on chronic disease management and preventative health, and anything that a GP would be happy to recommend to his or her patients.

HealthAide is monetising the service by offering newsletters as a paid service to general practices and allied health clinics, as well as offering advertisement services to local businesses. In future, HealthAid’s services will include developing calls to optimise billing and to use newsletters as a marketing tool.

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