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Healthcare’s Storytellers: Meet 5 Entrepreneurs Working to Give Voice to the Patient Experience

Delivering patient-first care in the digital age requires a new understanding of storytelling.

Article originally posted here.


It’s the first question your doctor asks during a visit to their office: “What brings you in today?” Disarming as the question may be, often there is a lot to unpack. We humans are complex and when it comes to our health, there’s always a back story.

And yet, during most visits with the doc, time is short and we barely skim the surface of the innumerable variables that go into a personalized diagnosis. During any given appointment, there are EMRs to update, orders to document, care logistics to coordinate, and while important, a patient’s family life, the impact of a treatment on their mental health, how they’re coordinating rides to medical appointments, and other plot points along their healthcare journey can get put on the back burner in order to discuss urgent physical symptoms. As a result, the full patient story is left untold.

Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill, Founder and CEO of Careteam Technologiesknows all too well the balance of art and science that is required for personalized medical care. In her work to solve the fragmentation of health care, she and her team discovered that in some situations care plans had been named based on a patient’s medical needs and were unsuitable to be shared with the patient and family.

“On one of our dementia teams, they changed a patient’s care plan name from ‘Moderate dementia with psychotic features’ to ‘Keeping Uncle John safe at home, which ended up motivating the health team themselves,” says Greenhill.

Greenhill is one of the many entrepreneurs — who we call Health Transformers — who have rallied behind this mission to give voice to the patient experience. We spoke with several of them about the importance of learning the full patient story and what they’re doing to promote personalized care. Here’s what they had to say.


Beth Sanders, Co-Founder of LifeBio, is on a mission to capture the life stories in healthcare to know who people are, to reduce loneliness, and to transform care for seniors. For senior care and healthcare organization who struggle to fulfill Medicare/state requirements while facing increasing competition in the market, LifeBio’s health IT platform helps people engage and share deeply using reminiscence therapy.

LifeBio sees the importance of re-humanizing the patient through capturing life stories. As personalized medicine truly becomes personal and longevity keeps increasing, it is key to find ways to improve wellbeing in order to lower healthcare costs. When patients feel disconnected, lonely, or socially isolated, there are serious physical health risks that result. When people lack purpose, they are more hospitalized in their lifetime. The power of story connects people and reduces loneliness while increasing purpose and meaning.

Life experiences, memories, and feelings can be captured inside LifeBio’s online platform (http://www.lifebio.com) or in journal formats. A series of 15–25 key questions are asked (or answer all 200). The person’s LifeBio is made available in digital or printed forms, following HIPAA regulations. The clinical team has a quick “Snapshot” summary of the whole person’s life; just a 30 second read would help build a more solid relationship, beyond just “chit chat” or medically-focused conversations.

Inside the life story, the uniqueness of this person is captured. Knowing what makes John or Jenny or Mary actually “tick” can result in adherence to treatment and more positive outcomes. Federal Medicare and Medicaid laws surround long-term care and specifically Alzheimer’s/dementia care require “person-centered care.” Knowing life history, preferences, and more is all part of the law, and it’s the right thing to do for your loved ones and mine.

Connect with Beth Sanders on StartUp Health HQ or email bsanders@lifebio.com. Learn more about LifeBio here.


Lynda Brown-Ganzert, founder of Curatio, is on a mission to provide the world’s first social health prescription. Curatio builds private, mobile social networks to improve adherence and self-management using AI and peer support. Curatio uniquely combines social network theory with daily disease management tools to offer a novel approach to patient acquisition, retention and adherence engagement.

Clinical care is said to make up 10% of Health Outcome Drivers, with the other 90% based on social, economic, behaviors and environment factors — with social at the top of the list. How do we support patients and families when so much of health happens outside the hospital, clinic and doctor’s office? And how do we do that at scale, in a way that is highly personalized, private and actionable?

At Curatio, we know that social is the missing piece for healthcare transformation. We provide patients, caregivers, families and providers with private peer social networks that significantly improve health behaviors, adherence, wellbeing and quality of life. These networks provide more than just support. They give voice to the patient experience and engage them to share their stories, knowledge and insights in a way that is private, personalized and highly valuable to others. Our social plugin is an easy, scalable way for providers to address the other 90% of health and empower the patient story.

Email Lynda at curatio@startuphealth.com. Learn more about Curatio here.

Careteam Technologies

Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill, founder or Careteam Technologies, is on a mission to solve the fragmentation of healthcare by enabling patient-centered care collaboration and system navigation for patients with complex, chronic diseases across different health conditions and contexts. Careteam is a patient-centric digital platform that connects patients, family and health care teams.

After almost two decades in practice, I have seen first hand the art that goes into the practice of medicine — adapting scientific knowledge to each patient’s unique combination of health care issues and life circumstances is one of the most rewarding parts of being a clinician.

And yet, the multiple medical needs of complex chronic patients make it harder to get to know them as people. Their rising numbers force us to create disease based cohorts and try to fit patients into streamlined programs.

We started Careteam with a fundamental question: What if the health care “system” was instead a tailor-made experience for each patient? Better yet what if we treated each patient as a whole person and helped them with not just health issues, but also life issues?

On our Patient-Centered Collaboration (PCC) platform, health care teams provide the plan on what should happen to optimise the health outcomes, and then the patient takes over, being supported to adapt the plan to their lives and get it done. It has been amazing to see health teams discovering more about their patient’s preferences, about who is involved in their daily care and what gaps and overlaps exist that need to be dealt with.

Email Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill at careteam@startuphealth.com. Learn more about Careteam Technologies here.


Jonathan Dariyanani, founder of Cognotion, is on a mission to provide dignity in work and dignity in care through native mobile, story-based training solutions. Cognotion is a complete training for certificartino program that solves the talent pipeline issue and improves quality of care of patients and residents.

Cognotion allied health professionals, including Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) are using a unique, cinematic, mobile training platform in partnership with the American Red Cross, who provides in-person skill training to our students. Because we teach resilience, grit and emotional self-regulation in addition to the CNA skill set, our CNAs can cope with end of life issues in a much more direct, involved and engaged way. This means they can actively talk about the death and dying process with patients and family members and make sure that their final wishes are respected and their lives framed as they would like. When health care workers are trained to be more resilient and self-regulating, they don’t need to “armor up” around death and pain as much, which makes them available to patients as someone who can truly, actively listen to their dying story will a full heart.

Email Jonathan Dariyanani at cognotion@startuphealt.com. Learn more about Cognotion here.


Dr. Rick Pionkowski, Co-Founder & CMIO of Julota, is on a mission to create a holistic community-wide ecosystem, improving the whole population’s health. Pionkowski, along with CEO Scott Cravens and Co-Founder / CTO Michael Schaedel, have worked together to develop a platform designed to allow health and personal information to be shared safely and securely between all private, public, and governmental agencies within a community, improving efficiency and decreasing costs for healthcare stakeholders while improving the health for individuals.

As case managers and navigators meet with patients, they use Julota to understand a patient’s unique social lifestyle. Where patients live, their lifestyle choices, their emergency contacts, all of these pieces of information are critical to understanding the types of healthcare events that do or could impact the individual. Julota allows patients to be intimately known across their community enabling new organizations to understand how their unique lifestyle impacts their health and can most readily be addressed.

Learn more about Julota here.