This Startup Uses Mobile Peer Support as a Solution for Medication Adherence

Marmo Health’s mobile, ultra-personalized peer support group is tackling the root cause of medication non-adherence.

Abbas Hasan, Founder of Marmo, presenting at the Dreamit Health Customer Immersion at Mount Sinai in NYC.

Abbas Hasan, Founder of Marmo, presenting at the Dreamit Health Customer Immersion at Mount Sinai in NYC.

More than 50% of Americans are living with at least one chronic condition. Despite effective treatments that would allow patients to live healthy lives and lessen the $100B+ cost burden on the healthcare system, up to 60% of chronic patients fail to adhere to their medication regimes. In fact, up to 125K deaths and at least 10% of hospital admissions annually are the result of non-adherence.

The health of chronic patients, broader economic costs, and impact on caregivers and families have become a tremendous burden for healthcare providers and insurance companies. Somewhat surprisingly, there has been an absence of substantial change in drug adherence in the last 40 years.

Marmo Health founder Abbas Hassan first encountered this problem when his sister-in-law, a neurologist treating patients with chronic conditions, complained about her patients’ illnesses, which they could have easily remedied by taking their medication on schedule. As a practicing physician, she did not have time to fully dive into the complex beliefs and concerns surrounding why her patients were not taking their medication. These underlying beliefs of patients have been largely unexplored when it comes to advancements in adherence.

With this initial inspiration, Hassan went on to conduct hundreds of interviews with patients, focus groups, and healthcare providers, while exploring the massive literature that existed on medication adherence. The team found that, contrary to popular belief, medication non-adherence does not occur because patients forget to take their pills. Rather, patients’ are not acutely aware of their condition and how the medication is working to help them.

How Marmo Health Works

Marmo Health changes patients’ beliefs and concerns about their condition and medications through a powerful combination of peer influence, education, coaching and behavioral nudges delivered through an HIPAA-compliant chat messaging app.

The team developed a proprietary algorithm that matches people into small peer groups that have a higher propensity to enable engagement and a higher likelihood to incite change behavior. Their natural language processing capability delivers education and bespoke nudges to patients.

While most of the other players in the adherence market are targeting the 20% of patients whose primary problem is forgetfulness, they are missing the 70% plus who do not adhere for other reasons. Online coaching platforms for chronic diseases often lack the personalized approach Marmo offers, as well as the highly-curated support network of the very most empathetic peers.

Marmo is one of a subset of startups at the intersection of AI-enabled language processing, value-based care, and chat messaging. Their data advantage gives them a unique advantage and enables them to achieve high engagement. For the bulk of chronic patients who are not adhering to treatment plans due to their belief systems, the personalized platform stands to affect behavior in major ways.

Currently, Marmo Health is conducting several pilots and clinical trials. To date, their platform has resulted in high engagement and behavioral change, indicating a positive step forward for chronic disease management. Learn more about the company by checking out their website.

About Dreamit Health

Dreamit Health is an accelerator designed to help startups scale with enterprise customers in the healthcare space. The program is 14 weeks (4 weeks in person and 10 weeks virtual) of growth-focused programming, education, coaching, and one-on-one interactions with executives at large hospitals, insurers, and pharma companies. The program is completely designed to give startups a chance to gain new customers and to pilot their technologies.

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