A digital health startup is aiming to revolutionize care to meet the specific and wide-spanning needs for people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers.
Harmonic Health, a St. Louis-based care management company created by tech firm Redesign Health, recently launched a pilot program of comprehensive care that combines a specialized multidisciplinary medical team with advanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI).
The program launched last month with Stoney Batter Family Medicine, a medical practice serving more than 24,000 patients in the Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania region. The program includes patient education, dementia screening, caregiver support and coaching, as well as referrals for services.
The demand for resources is high, with Harmonic stating that its program already has an 80% patient enrollment rate. “The U.S. is grappling with an unseen challenge from patients and families impacted by Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) emphasizing dementia care as a major priority,” Harmonic said.
Earlier this year, CMS issued a test guide that aims to support people living with dementia and their unpaid caregivers.
Building resources for caregivers is crucial in the ongoing advancement in treatment, experts say. Studies show that the stresses of being a caregiver have a deep impact on the caregiver’s mental wellbeing.
Other studies show that the growth of Alzheimer’s and dementia treatment plans over the years go beyond medicine.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the importance of AI in the field is growing. Doctors are working alongside advances in technology to assist in early detection and diagnosis based on factors like sleep, speech and typing, according to the report. In other developments, earlier this year attorneys general from 23 states called for Medicare to end restrictions on Alzheimer’s disease treatments and make treatment more affordable and accessible for all.
How to enroll
According to Harmonic co-founder and CEO Jim Gera, the program launch was inspired by the lackluster options for treatment and care for the roughly 6 million people in America living with dementia.
“I know from personal experience that the current situation for treating patients with neurodegenerative diseases is ineffective, unsupportive and deeply frustrating,” he said in a statement. “Patients and caregivers lack support and physicians lack the resources to provide comprehensive care.”
To sign up for more information on the program, visit the Harmonic Health website.
Once signed up, patients and caregivers can enroll in the hybrid plan, which includes meeting with the Harmonic care team for a comprehensive evaluation. From there, the team will work with the patient’s primary care physician to develop a treatment plan.