June 24, 2013 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Connecting Home Health Meters and Motion Sensors to a Web Based Care Portal Application for an Up-to-Date Support Network, Ambio Health is the Most Affordable and Easiest to Use Remote Monitoring Solution Available
About Ambio Health:
The word Ambio embodies the
spirit of Ambio Health. It is the joining of the classic words: Amo meaning
love and Bio meaning life. It is also a derived from the Latin word Ambios
denoting: visit in rotation, circle, or embrace. A unique aspect of Ambio
Health is our Care Circle feature which keeps your support network up to
date on your status so they can help you be healthy.
1266 E. Main St.
Stamford, CT 06902
conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – June
CEOCFO: Mr. Jones, your website indicates that Ambio helps people live better at home. Would you tell us how Ambio Health does that?
Mr. Jones: Ambio Health (Ambio) connects home health meters and motion sensor and door window sensors to a web based care portal application. What is unique is that Ambio is the most affordable and easiest to use remote monitoring solution available. Health meters include a glucose meter, blood pressure meter and a scale with more meters upcoming in the future. Activity sensors currently include motion and door window sensors that can be programmed to send alerts such as: no movement by 9 am in the kitchen or if the front door is opened after 11pm. Readings and messages can be viewed by any number of authorized caregivers in any location. Ambio is intended to be used by patients, family members concerned about their loved ones health status and professional caregivers in a population health management setting. Functions include customizable reminders to take readings and medications that can be delivered by telephone, text message or email, customizable patient surveys, ability to set target levels for readings, a points and rewards systems for taking readings and keeping within target levels, a shared calendar for patient and caregiver coordination, and other functions.
CEOCFO: Would you give us an example so that we can understand what is actually happening?
Mr. Jones: Here are two examples. The first is a caregiver who has an elderly parent living at home that they are concerned about. The elderly parent can have a blood pressure meter and a glucose meter and take their readings according to schedule. Ambio sends reminders to the patient to take readings either proactively or if an expected reading is not received. Then, readings can be viewed by the caregiver to make sure they are okay or if they are not okay to do some sort of intervention. That is at the individual caregiver level. At the healthcare system level, a hospital or a home health agency or an Accountable Care Organization, ACO, can monitor a population of patients in much the same way. A case manager functions as a caregiver. Each case manager can monitor a large number of patients, set individualized parameters for target levels for blood pressure, weight or glucose. The readings can be viewed at a central station where the case manager can review them, provide coaching based on the readings and if they are not within the levels set by the provider, the case manager can coordinate care with the provider.
CEOCFO: What does the patient need to do?
Mr. Jones: The set up for the patient is extremely simple. They get the meters and the Ambio connectivity hardware. The set-up is just plugging the Ambio wireless connector into the USB port of the glucose meter or the blood pressure meter and plugging the Ambio Gateway into the home router and a power outlet. That is the entire set up process for the patient. Then all they need to do is take readings with their meters the way that they normally would. They do not need to do anything extra to send the readings to the caregiver, they are sent automatically from anywhere in the house. They can use their meters in their natural locations, such as the scale in the bathroom, and it is very unobtrusive because of that.
CEOCFO: Who is using your services today?
Mr. Jones: We have various types of users. Obviously providers and patients are central so, for example, it is being used by diabetes educators and endocrinologists with their patients and it is helping the patients better manage their diabetes and blood pressure and making the providers more productive. Another type of user are home health agencies who can be more productive in gathering patient vital signs with fewer trips to the patients home. One agency told us they like it because it is much less intimidating to the patient than the big cart of equipment that usually gets dropped off at the patients home. We are also seeing interest from pharmaceutical companies since Ambio supports a very affordable remote monitoring capability that can be offered in conjunction with their medications, which is interesting since remote health monitoring used with appropriate care models has been shown to improve outcomes. It can also support medication adherence, which is interesting because a large percentage of patients don’t take their medications as prescribed.
CEOCFO: How long has the products been available?
Mr. Jones: We made the products generally available at the beginning of this year in January of 2013.
CEOCFO: What has been the plan? How are you engaging the public and the various groups that could be and should be using what you have available?
Mr. Jones: The plan is to go to market to home health agencies, pharmaceutical companies and to family members concerned about their loved ones “aging in place”. Our initial customers are seeing improved patient health indicators and improved provider / case manager productivity. We believe there is a straight forward cost reduction business case for organizations that currently do patient monitoring for post hospital discharge or as part of disease management programs. We are working on co-marketing partnerships with companies that sell into these markets. We have also seen a lot of interest by family members concerned about the health status of their elderly parents when they cannot visit every day, so we will market to them though publications they read.
CEOCFO: I know that you need to have the concrete proof, but is there any doubt that these devices would make a difference? It seems such a simple concept to understand.
Mr. Jones: Yes, most everyone we’ve talked to would say exactly that; that it is self-evident that Ambio is a compelling solution for home monitoring as part of a program for managing chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension or for post hospital discharge when blood pressure and/or weight needs to be monitored. What is interesting is that while most studies show improved patient outcomes, we are seeing some skepticism about remote monitoring cost effectiveness, based on some systems having mixed cost effectiveness results. However, these studies typically used technology that is much more expensive and, perhaps, care models that either did not address the human behavior change factors or that used inefficient patient interaction methods. We believe efficient and effective care models have recently been demonstrated in some well-designed studies and, in combination with less expensive technology from Ambio, can be much very cost effective even for moderate risk patients, not just high risk patients. On the family caregiver level there have been studies by AARP, by The National Alliance of Caregivers, by Price Waterhouse Cooper, to name a few, who have asked caregivers what functionalities they would like and what would you be willing to pay. Ambio is the only system that meets those functional and affordability parameters. Therefore, yes, as a result of all of that we believe that it is fairly evident that there could be significant benefit to using Ambio.
CEOCFO: What are some of the advances that you have been able to incorporate to allow you to do a cost plan that would make sense?
Mr. Jones: We have engineered the product from the ground up and using proprietary technology to be low cost and easy to use. For example, rather than base our gateway on a computer or a tablet like other systems, we designed our gateway to focus on communicating readings in a highly reliable and secure way. We realized that anyone who would want to review reading data already has a computer or tablet and a web browser. We use an automated IVR system to deliver reminders and other messages by telephone, email and/or text message to devices that users already have. So we didn’t need to add hundreds of dollars to the cost of the gateway. Also, because Ambio uses a whole house wireless technology and is so easy to set up, it doesn’t require an expensive technician to set up the system with wireless repeaters throughout the house. If the patient is not capable of setting it up, they typically have a nurse or caregiver visiting them anyway who can set it up. Finally, because the technology is highly reliable, we have not experienced the need to send technicians to patient’s homes to do troubleshooting. We can remotely determine if the Ambio device is plugged in or not and walk the user though how to plug it in, if needed. These advances allow us to focus on exactly what is needed to do the function, make it very robust, reliable and secure, but not add extra cost where it is not needed.
CEOCFO: Initially, are most people taking advantage of one of your devices or are you attempting to get several in with the same person and really have the full range?
Mr. Jones: We envision that because most people who would need this sort of solution to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and/or hypertension, we see the typical person having two or three health meter among the scale, the blood pressure meter and the glucose meter. That said, we sell them a la carte. If you only need a glucose meter you can buy that individually. For family members concerned about their senior parent, we also see people buying motion and door/window sensors in addition to the health meters.
CEOCFO: Where do you manufacture your products? Are you able to gear up quickly if the world discovers you tomorrow?
Mr. Jones: Yes. The products are physically manufactured in factories we have set up in China that have the capacity to make tens of thousands of units at a time when we need them. We are envisioning that, at least on that scale, with the current manufacturing capability that we can handle the expected volumes quite well. If we get to volumes of millions we will probably need to expand our manufacturing capability, but we would be happy to have that problem to work on and we have significant supply chain expertise on our team to ramp that up.
CEOCFO: Is Ambio Health funded to get through the next steps? Will you be seeking partnership or additional funding?
Mr. Jones: We are funded by a great group of angel investors at this point. We will have another angel round this year and I expect we will have a VC round sometime next year.
CEOCFO: What might be misunderstood about the company when people take a look at the company and the products? What should people know that, maybe, does not jump out at them?
Mr. Jones: That is a good question, because it has been a fairly straightforward thing for people to understand as we have talked to them. People that are familiar with remote monitoring technologies all immediately understand what the product is. They are really blown away by the price point. More to your question, what might not be as understood, is just that there is a product available at this price point. For example, in the family caregiver market, the research that we have seen says the biggest barrier is just the perception that the cost is high – primarily because of legacy solutions that are out there. So, our biggest task right now is getting the word out.
CEOCFO: Why should investors and people in the business community be paying attention to Ambio Health?
I believe that people should be paying attention because, as
some of the industry consultants we worked with said, we have a disruptive
price point for this type of product. Because the price point is so much
more affordable it enables a much larger number of people to use this sort
of solution to manage chronic diseases and transitions of care. Therefore,
it opens up much larger populations than can be justified to use remote
health monitoring vs. other products.
“Ambio is the most affordable and easiest to use remote monitoring solution available.”- Kevin Jones
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