Note: This blog was originally published on Digital For Health. It has been reposted here with permission from the author.

Patients find visits to their physicians stressful, and most physicians wish they could spend more time with individual patients. This does not seem like a formula for success, and it isn’t.

That’s where MaRS client Liberate Health comes in. Its mobile app helps healthcare professionals create and share information with patients about their conditions, treatments and ongoing disease management.

Studies have shown that patients only remember a fraction of what their doctor tells them, and if he/she is conveying bad news, patients remember even less. After visiting their physician, patients often discuss the visit with family or friends, but are frequently confused. A conversation such as this is common:

“He said I had some disease. I don’t remember the name – something like Silly disease, but it wasn’t that. So I’m supposed to stop eating bread and cakes. I didn’t ask him about pasta though.” 

Some approaches, such as using models and diagrams, can aid initial patient comprehension, and take-home brochures are useful aids to the follow-on conversations.

Physicians also find that they repeat the same educational advice and recommendations to patients often, addressing the same issues over and over. This is stressful and can reduce effectiveness. For example, paediatricians spend inordinate amounts of time addressing parents’ concerns that vaccines may harm their children.

What physicians need

What physicians need in order to more effectively advise their patients and promote retention are a set of current resources, preferably using electronic media that patients can access and review after their visit, with links to further resources.

What patients need

And what patients would love, is a recording of their session, with pictures and other items the doctor talked about, that they can review at their leisure at home, and with family and friends as they choose.

Liberate Health addresses these two needs. Its platform uses simple, colourful and memorable infographics to help patients understand and retain information. Data is developed by healthcare experts to ensure that each infographic is accurate and provides the most up-to-date information to users.

Liberate’s system is just entering beta testing, but the response has been incredible. And while there are many patient portal approaches being developed, Liberate’s business model, which has built a very compelling financial case for sponsors, is likely to enable it to become a leader.

Recently Liberate announced a partnership with Rogers Healthcare Group in Canada, a leading medical publisher (for publications such as CanadianHealthcareNetwork.ca / ProfessionSanté.ca, The Medical Post, L’actualité médicale, Pharmacy Practice, Québec Pharmacie, Drugstore Canada and L’actualité pharmaceutique), whereby Rogers will provide sales, marketing and communication support to Liberate.

Other alliances are in the works, both inside and outside Canada, so stay tuned for more great news about this innovative company.

Martin Sumner-Smith

Martin Sumner-Smith, PhD, was a senior advisor with MaRS Health Venture Services. See more…