MedTera does its best on patient education

MedTera uses a sponsorship business model with publishing metrics to increase patient compliance with medical directives.

MedTera, a unit of Structural Graphics in Connecticut, has built itself a nice little business in patient education.

(Image from the MedTera home page.)

Those ranks of pamphlets in your doctor's office, talking about common and chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes? Chances are MedTera sent them.

The pamphlets have big name sponsors who see patient education as important to their mission or their bottom lines.

Online, President David Duplay said, the company has built "a lifelong learning platform. It's built for patients and caregivers who are newly diagnosed, who need to get quality information in their preferred channel."

"It all centers around education," because the lack of education costs big money.

"We followed 3 million patients and saw when they dropped off therapy. Some 29-71% drop off therapy in the first month of diagnosis – people with asthma, with breast cancer, depression, high cholesterol and diabetes. The numbers blow your mind."

Duplay calls these people "rookies at risk" and has produced a case study showing how his integrated use of print, web and mobile technologies can increase compliance, saving lives and money.

He can't be too granular because MedTera isn't an ad platform, and thus isn't collecting data on specific patients. "A lot of people who try to build mobile apps or web sites violate the trust of the patient by trying to capture too much information.

"If you're going to extend the relationship you can't violate that trust. If they come to you looking at something you can't have an algorithm that if they looked at A maybe I should sell B."

MedTera uses a sponsorship business model with publishing metrics. "If I can take you through an educational piece" with quizzes "I know who's come in, I can tell how long you've stayed, how well the content was comprehended. But I'll never guarantee a client I can get 40% of the viewers into this environment."

Everything is done indirectly. "We do patient starter kits that are either sent into the office or come in via a pharmaceutical sales rep. That kit will include information about the diseases, the therapy, it might have a co-pay assistance card, and it gives the patient an option to come into our platform to get more information."

MedTera gets its information from groups like American Heart Association, which has guidelines on blood pressure. If patients are persuaded to download its mobile app,

"You'll answer five or six questions, it will give you a numerical ranking, and it will post that in a calendar. So you can show the doctor your calendar on your iPhone, and he can see how things are going."

I asked how much better things could be if that loop were closed, if the doctor were part of that wellness relationship, coaching, pushing their patient toward compliance.

"The doctor is going to ask if he's being compensated for the time spent on email. Will it reduce malpractice costs? Will third party payers reimburse? What's my liability?

"These are unanswered questions from the medical community, and since most physicians are small practitioners it is going to take a while" to close the loop.

When it can, however, MedTera will be ready.