Giangiacomo Rocco, CEO
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a risk factor for several health conditions, including cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and other metabolic issues. In fact, recent reports indicate that this “silent killer” affects nearly 75 million Americans adults. Being asymptomatic, high blood pressure goes unnoticed until it starts causing severe health issues like severe headache, fatigue, chest pain, etc. As such, it is not uncommon to encounter hypertensive patients who take medicines and pay clinic-visits only when complexities arise. While effective treatments are available, there is a need to confront the problem with a modern approach.
On the same lines, Amicomed, a California-based enterprise, has built a cloud-based SaaS platform that remotely tracks BP, generates progressive insights and offers personalized virtual coaching. Being hypertensive, Giangiacomo Rocco, the CEO, understood that hypertensive patients often want to self-manage the condition as much as possible. As the first step toward his vision of helping people to maintain cardiovascular health, he founded Amicomed, by teaming up with a renowned cardiologist, Dr. Domenico Cianflone, who currently serves as the company’s CSO. They were later joined by digital health experts and entrepreneurs, Andrea Mason, and Vishal Dubey, who worked to design the offering for a multinational, enterprise scale usage and adoption.
In an interview with CIO Applications, Amicomed founders, along with Vishal Dubey, Chief Technology and Product Officer, and Andrea Mason, head of Amicomed’s Business Development, shed the light on their unique solutions, and how they are making a mark in the digital health space.
According to you, what are some of Amicomed’s unique value propositions through which it is trying to bring change for the hypertensive patients?
The best way to combat hypertension is to offer a solution that makes people aware of it and which enables them to manage it by themselves. Keeping this in mind, we have built an automated API-driven¬ SaaS platform that tracks BP trends. Healthcare stakeholders - providers, payers (insurers, employers, national health systems), pharmaceutical and solution providers (medical device manufacturers, digital health companies) can deploy Amicomed directly via the Amicomed Mobile app or embedding it as part of any existing digital health platform. Our platform can benefit patients across linguistic boundaries as it supports multi-languages like English, Italian, and Portuguese. Moreover, being fully automated, it comes at an affordable price, which makes it possible for us to improve cardiovascular health at a massive scale. In fact, the Amicomed platform has demonstrated cases where there was a reduction of systolic BP of 2800 patients by between 5 mmHg and 20 mmHg, which is equivalent to an effect brought in by a single-drug treatment.
Please elaborate further on the uses of the digital therapeutics platform of Amicomed.
Vishal Dubey, CTO and CPO
What are some of the benefits it brings to clients?
Usually, hypertensive patients visit physicians every one to six months. It can get quite challenging for physicians to treat them correctly, as they would not have information about the daily BP range of the patient. Hence, it is crucial to keep a record of how the BP fluctuates, correlating to various activities performed by the individual during the day. To this end, Amicomed’s platform keeps track of the patient’s BP by extracting data either from synchronized platforms like Apple HealthKit or other connected BP measurement devices and manual entries. With proprietary algorithms and sophisticated analytics, the data is continuously interpreted to provide an assessment of the BP changes. The platform is also equipped with a dashboard that enables patients and physicians to interact with each other. With the patient’s consent, physicians can assess their BP records, assess care gaps and proactively connect with patients who need medical attention. The physician can also benefit from this as it decreases workload through better management of the patient’s data by algorithm-based risk stratification.
Knowing that hypertension is just the beginning of related severe heart diseases, our goal is to democratize the management of cardiovascular health through our platform
Besides, the platform also offers a 90-days virtual coaching program to improve health literacy. This program starts with an extensive questionnaire, modeled according to clinical guidelines. Subsequently, the patient is asked to accomplish some goals which focus on making lifestyle changes to reduce BP. We also provide personalized feedback and recommendations to the patient focusing on diet, physical activity, and BP measurements.
An additional feature about our product is that it is versatile enough to work in two different modes. We offer BP management-as-a-solution, which includes the Amicomed mobile app, and BP management-as-a-service consisting of the API enabled–SaaS platform, which can be aligned with any other digital service platform.
Can you give a case scenario wherein your product helped people to lower and manage their hypertension better?
We have one of the leading insurance companies, Generali Welion, a Fortune 50 company, based in Italy as our partner. Before sealing the deal with us, they wanted to test our effectiveness as-a-service among their employees. So, a group consisting of hundred employees used our platform. After analyzing their BP counts, we found out that their BP was constantly fluctuating and gradually increasing. By creating awareness about their deteriorating condition, we successfully lowered the BP level of 75 percent of them. As an outcome, almost half of the group’s BP range returned to normal. Being satisfied with the demonstration of our solutions, Generali Welion decided to partner with us to launch Italy’s first digital-therapeutics service for hypertension management.
How do you envision to move ahead in this digital health space? Do you have any plans for expansion?
When we entered the cardiovascular health space in 2015, there was no existing set of guidelines that could assist us in outlining the design of our product. Our journey was not easy as we had to run the extra mile, make our own discoveries, and bring innovative solutions to the market. Technically speaking, we had to validate it on a clinical point and produce actual results of its functionality. Nonetheless, through continuous efforts, we have standardized our product to the highest degree.
Our next big step will be to scale by making it available to the masses. Considering that Rocco and Cianflone are from Milan, Italy, we will also strive to expand into the EU market. Knowing that hypertension is just the beginning of related severe heart diseases, we will attempt to cover all areas of cardiovascular health through our platform. We hope this will enable us to lead this segment of the digital health.