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Mobile App Puts Health Information at People’s Fingertips

May 20, 2021
by Colin Poitras

When Ritesh Singh, M.B.A./M.P.H. ’22, has a general health-related question, all he has to do is contact one of his family members or friends who are clinicians to get the information he needs.

Not everyone is that fortunate however, which is why Singh, and Yale M.D./M.B.A. candidate Prerak Juthani, created Health Sidekick, an online and mobile health platform that people can use to obtain information when they have informal questions related to their health.

“Prerak and I are both interested in the concept of health literacy – the ability to find, understand and use information and services to inform health-related decisions,” said Singh, who is enrolled in the Accelerated M.B.A./M.P.H. Program in Health Care Management provided by the Yale School of Public Health. “We recognize the privilege we have when it comes to our own health literacy and we want to mimic that social capital for those who do not have access to it.”

The innovative platform is still in the early stages of development. But Singh and Juthani envision it being an easy-to-use health information resource where patients can gain access to a wide variety of important health information on different topics. According to current development plans, Health Sidekick will provide and store key information in such categories as:

  • My Health – A patient’s personal information, health conditions, primary care provider, insurance and medication information.
  • Medical Terms – Engaging easy-to-understand visual breakdowns of common clinical terms and concepts for the layperson.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Brief explanatory information about how pharmaceutical products work, their names, methods of administration and drug interactions.
  • Tests and Scans – Explanations of common lab tests and radiographic scans – how they work, what they show, and what results mean.
  • Who’s Who – An explanation of the responsibilities of different health care stakeholders and providers involved in a patient’s care, what they do and how they work together.

“In addition to information on these topics, we imagine allowing patients to input their health information into the platform where they will be guided to more information specific to their needs,” Singh said. “We also envision patients being able to connect with clinicians to have their informal health questions addressed via an online chat feature.”

The two students are currently looking for technical developers to convert their ideas and schematic designs into a working prototype.

The students got a boost this year when Health Sidekick was selected as one of 23 venture development projects that qualified for Yale’s Tsai CITY Launch Pad program. The program helps guide students with innovative ideas through the development stage and into prototype preparation.

Singh said the guidance he received through Launch Pad was very helpful.

“We were paired with a portfolio manager that kept us accountable every week, making sure we were working on our venture while we were both enrolled in dual degree programs,” said Singh.

During the program, Singh and Juthani launched a provider survey to better understand the types of questions people ask their health care providers. They also conducted a patient survey to better understand the health topics patients are most concerned about when they contact a health network or search the internet.

Developing the mobile health platform was a natural progression for Singh, who said he enrolled at the Yale School of Public Health because of his longtime interest in health care.

Singh earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Boston University. He then spent four years doing life science consulting before enrolling at Yale to further his education and training.

“I wanted to go to graduate school so I could work more closely with providers and patients, and Yale’s MBA/MPH program seemed like the perfect way to blend my consulting experience with my career aspirations,” Singh said.

The M.B.A./M.P.H. dual degree program broadened Singh’s perspective about health care management.

“Being at Yale has introduced me to new areas in health care I had not previously considered,” Singh said. “I have appreciated the opportunities at Yale to explore new things and would encourage others to lean into that exploration while they are here.”

When he graduates, Singh hopes to continue working in the health care tech space, specifically with companies focuses on care coordination and management.

Submitted by Ivette Aquilino on May 20, 2021