Higi Health Stations Can Now Share Data with Epic's EHR

MARCH 06, 2018
Higi may be well known to a few of you, as this Chicago-based company have targeted the retail pharmacy space in the past few years. Their health self-screening stations are ubiquitous as higher-end blood pressure and disease information station that often sits near the pharmacy counter.1  The stations track not only BP, but also weight (for BMI), and pulse. They also serve as check-in stations for users to measure their physical status and exercise, and can also keep data managed with their mobile app. 
 
Now, the aim for Higi is to engage users in their health; and by being located by a pharmacy (where ideally the patient checks in once a month to pick up their meds) can serve as a health check-up on how well the patient is doing. Patients can share their data with friends, and also engage in an online community regarding how well they are doing. 
 
From a business aspect, pharmacies like this as it is an upgrade to a standard blood pressure machine. Others look to use Higi as a means of advertising at a local level. But looking to a more significant market to keep abreast with current developments (such as Apple and Google and the whole digital health market), Higi has recently announced plans to have the data collected from their stations sync up with EHRs. 
 
Partnering with another Chicago-based company called Rush, data collected from Higi health stations will be viewable from institutions that use the Epic EHR.2 To expand upon this, Higi is looking to target not just pharmacies and supermarkets, but also gyms, high schools, community centers, and other areas with high foot traffic flow. 
 
This is all based on the initial success of putting Higi in low-income areas and looking to target hypertension management. Patients could screen their blood pressure, and those that were found to be hypertensive could be referred to health clinics for follow-up. In a statement from their PR release, Dr. Omar Lateef (Rush's CMO) said “The partnership with higi helps us toward achieving our population health goals for hypertension management... Through their extensive network of health stations, higi will provide an accessible and affordable way for our patients to regularly measure and share their blood pressure measurements.”
 
This is a timely move on Higi's part, as to keep competitive with the mobile market they need a more fluid way to primarily making the data they collect worthwhile to patients and clinicians, and also find a means to expand to further locations. The other item is that there's a lot of competition inbound. Apple recently announced they would also integrate their devices with EHRs, which provides a higher level of competition for Higi, as if a user is using certain peripherals (BP, SMBG) they will collect even more data. The other area is that Samsung recently announced their new smartphones would collect BP without using an external device as well. So, it stands to reason that if Higi can't make its mark now, and get more users engaged with their stations, they may lose out in the long run.

References
  1. Higi. Available from https://higi.com/
  2. higi Health Stations Now Can Connect With Electronic Health Records [news release]. Higi. March 1, 2018. Accessed at: https://higi.com/2018/03/higi-health-stations-now-can-connect-with-electronic-health-records/


Timothy Aungst, PharmD
Timothy Dy Aungst, PharmD, is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at MCPHS University. He graduated from Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Luke's University Hospital, and then a Clinical Geriatric Fellowship at MCPHS University. He is passionate about the rise of technology in health care and its application to pharmacy. He has published primarily on the role of mobile technology and mHealth, and made multiple national and international presentations on those topics. He blogs at TheDigitalApothecary.com, and you can find him on Twitter @TDAungst.
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