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This App Is Helping Veterans Manage Their Health Records

Bronwyn Flores, Communications, Coordinator, Consumer Technology Association

On Monday, people across the United States will observe Memorial Day by honoring the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. For one California-based tech startup though, veterans and military personnel are top of mind every day of the year.

Humetrix, which stands for “human metrics,” uses sensor technologies and personalized algorithms to allow patients to access health records via their mobile devices. More specifically, their iBlueButton software lets veterans safely aggregate and store records from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and private providers.

We spoke with Humetrix CEO Bettina Experton to learn more about what her company is doing in health tech space to support veterans.

You recently exhibited at CES on the Hill. Tell us a little about your experience.
CES on the Hill is a unique experience, offering an intimate venue for companies to interact with legislators and their staff. Because technology is so central to our lives today, it is important that they engage with tech leaders and experience firsthand the wide range of transformational technologies that affect their constituents.

Because healthcare issues are so important, we were excited about the opportunity to demo our mobile health technology for legislators and talk about how information technology is directly impacting the lives of all Americans. Our participation has resulted in some follow-up meetings on Capitol Hill with legislators who are keenly interested in improving the safety and cost-effectiveness of our healthcare system by empowering patients.

How does Humetrix’s iBlueButton help veterans?
While healthcare is obviously important for everyone, our veterans in particular should get the best treatment – and the best tools for managing their health. Some vets come home with severe injuries and conditions, many requiring lifelong care and management.

As a result, veterans are often at much higher risk of medical errors both because they often have multiple health issues and because they access health care services from multiple places – in both Veterans Affairs (VA) and military system facilities and civilian doctors and clinics. More than 50 percent of the care vets receive comes from outside of the VA.

iBlueButton is the only software available that lets any veteran get and store records from the VA and Department of Defense health systems, as well as private providers; aggregate all of the information in an actionable format; and store it securely on the user's mobile device so he or she can easily share it with doctors and other caregivers.

Armed with this data, they can much more effectively ensure that every doctor they see is armed with all relevant information about their medical history to prevent deadly medical errors.

What measures does your company take to protect veterans’ medical records?
Your mobile device is actually one of the most secure places to store your data because you control it. That is why we have chosen to secure this very private information on the user’s own device — and nowhere else.

Humetrix is unique in the fact that individual data is never seen or stored on our servers. Veterans' medical records are downloaded directly from the VA or military health systems or Medicare and securely encrypted on the veteran's own smartphone. It can’t be hacked or stolen from “the cloud” because it isn’t stored there.

Besides helping veterans streamline their medical records, what else is Humetrix working on?
 We’re going beyond just providing anytime access to medical information — which is critically important — to the next step, which is using analytics and medical intelligence to help individuals better use their own data to manage chronic care conditions. For example, our TENSIO app uses analytics, medical intelligence, sensor data and the user’s own health record to coach patients on the best way to monitor hypertension – high blood pressure. We can tell them how different medications will affect their blood pressure, remind them to take medication, and make recommendations regarding diet and exercise to manage their blood pressure.

In the future, we’ll be rolling out additional apps on this same platform that assemble biometric and medical data and use medical intelligence and smart analytics to help coach patients through managing a range of other chronic conditions.