US based Healthvana has developed an eHealth app that delivers electronic HIV test results directly to the patient’s mobile device.

The app has had a popular reception since it was launched as a pilot three months ago, Healthvana has achieved a 66% engagement rate.

Through the app Healthvana sends patients test results for HIV and a number of standard Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Healthvana is integrated directly with the providers’ lab, so patients get test results without delay. Although HIV positive results are not relayed through the platform, for the first time patients are being given positive test results for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis electronically.

“If you test positive for an STI, you’d normally get a phone message asking you to make an appointment to see your doctor. And in the meantime, you’re freaking out,” explained Healthvana CEO, Ramin Bastani.

“But all these infections are almost 100% curable,” said Bastani. “With Healthvana, you get a friendly message saying, ‘Hey, you’ve tested positive for this infection. But don’t worry – it’s very likely curable,’ and then we link them directly to get the care they need.” It’s what he calls “making health information accessible and actionable.”

The app complies with all patient privacy regulations (HIPAA) because users enter through a secure portal in order to get results.

Healthvana also integrates directly with a provider’s Electronic Health Record (EHR), providing a dashboard that identifies all patients who have picked up their results via Healthvana. Any patient who tests positive and doesn’t follow up is flagged in Healthvana’s system, allowing providers to spend less time on admin and follow up only with those patients.

“We get a lot of attention for the patient engagement portion of what we’re doing because we look so consumer-centric,” said Bastani. “But the tools we’re building for the providers to solve their problems are just as, if not more, meaningful.”

The system also keeps patients from falling through the cracks. Using a phone message to inform a patient they need to follow up on a positive test result is not always reliable, especially when practitioners often tell patients ‘no news is good news’. So a patient may not get the message, or may not want to get the message, and continues on in ignorance — with an infection that’s not getting treated.

Healthvana plans to expand its services in the upcoming months to include cervical cancer by delivering Pap test results to women, another first for electronic notification. The company is also experimenting internally with vaccination records with the goal of giving patients complete access to their history.

“Our product looks more like a social application than a Windows 95 EHR system,” said Bastani. “Healthcare in the 21st century doesn’t look like healthcare; it looks like everything else you use on a daily basis.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the app further develops and if such an eHealth system could effectively work in South Africa, which is plagued by one of the worst HIV epidemics in the world.

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