Orbita Engage: Optimizing in-home healthcare with real-time data


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The annual MongoDB Innovation Awards recognize those organizations and individuals that took a giant idea and made a tangible impact in the world. The winners will be honored at MongoDB World 2017, in Chicago on June 20 and 21.

Orbita, Inc. is the 2017 winner of the MongoDB Innovation Award: Internet of Things category. We spoke to Bill Rogers, CEO of Orbita, to learn more about his business and how they are utilizing MongoDB to power their innovation.

Tell us about Orbita, Inc.

Orbita is an innovator of connected home healthcare solutions that dramatically increase patient engagement, optimize care coordination, improve outcomes, and reduce costs.

Orbita Voice™ is the first healthcare-centric solution designed to easily create and manage intelligent, conversational skills for voice-powered assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Healthcare professionals, including clinicians and non-clinicians, can readily use Orbita’s intuitive tools to create interactive voice experiences to survey patients, provide medical education, share care activity reminders, monitor compliance and more. Intelligent, conversational interfaces can bring significant value to patients, providers and caregivers.

Orbita Engage™ is a first-of-its-kind IoT platform built from the ground up for comprehensive care management. Organizations use this SaaS solution to create, deploy and manage HIPAA-compliant applications that combine data from wearables and other sensor-embedded devices -- including conversational experiences such as those created with Orbita Voice™ -- into collaborative care experiences. Orbita Engage provides unique user experiences optimized for needs of clinical and non-clinical professionals, patients and family members. Rule-based triggers and visualizations empower rapid intervention based on real-time data and insights. Built-in analytics enable tracking of user engagement and response to user input.

According to researchers at Gartner, by 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse. Gartner analysts also say they are seeing more progress in voice technology in the last 30 months than over the past 30 years.

While change has come quickly in certain markets, the healthcare industry has been slower to adopt information-technology-driven approaches for patient care, including voice-first solutions. When leveraged within a care management platform, digital voice assistants have the potential to substantially impact the Triple Aim of healthcare: improve patient satisfaction, health, and healthcare affordability. They improve patient satisfaction through more natural experiences that eliminate the “monitoring” stigma of other connected healthcare solutions. They improve health outcomes by ensuring patients are engaged in their care, while providing data-driven insights for optimizing provider and caregiver response in moments of need and intervention. And they reduce costs by keeping patients at home and away from costly clinical care settings. Voice assistants also meet the unique needs of patients who cannot use mobile, tablet or PC devices.

Orbita, now just over two years old, was founded by individuals, myself included, who were frustrated with navigating the healthcare system, both as patients and as caretakers for family members. We asked ourselves, ‘How can we make information technology, especially IoT-focused technology, more meaningful in healthcare?’ A basic requirement, we believe, is to make it easy for healthcare professionals, patients, and family members to create and use applications – whether Web, mobile, or voice. And what’s necessary for this? A scalable, secure and flexible database environment.

How does it work?

Our IoT platform is used to engage patients in many ways – including voice. Our solutions are used to help patients get healthy and stay as healthy as possible by receiving the right care at the right time in the home, thereby reducing the need for more expensive care settings.

Think about this — normally, if someone told their Amazon Echo what their blood pressure was, the device would likely respond back saying that it does not understand the request. However, if a patient utilized an Orbita-developed conversational interface within the Orbita Engage platform, not only would the information be recognized and captured, it would also be pushed to an electronic health record system and sent to a health care professional as needed.

Orbita’s solutions support healthcare professionals with powerful analytics that track treatments for multiple conditions and provide guidance through data-driven insights and visualizations, all based on real-time data and rule-based triggers. In the home, the patient experience, along with the experience of family, friends, and home care agents, is improved.

Why did you select MongoDB as your database?

When building Orbita Engage, we needed a system that could easily collect and understand data from a variety of different applications, users, and organizations. Originally, we tried to build our application on Microsoft SQL Server. However, we quickly found that we did not have the flexibility to dynamically adapt to the data coming in. We turned to MongoDB knowing that it would be able to ingest massive volumes of IoT data and that its dynamic schema would allow us to easily adjust to new data requirements. While we cannot make an apples to apples comparison based on hardware, Orbita saw a 300% improvement in both reads and writes using MongoDB instead of Microsoft SQL Server. Additionally, we liked that we could scale horizontally using MongoDB versus more expensive vertical scaling with SQL Server.

Another consideration was security. Because we are dealing with sensitive patient data, we needed a system that would allow us to iterate quickly while ensuring HIPAA compliance. MongoDB Enterprise Advanced and MongoDB Ops Manager provided us with the security features and oversight we needed, such as network encryption, encryption of data at rest, and auditing.

What’s next for Orbita?

Orbita is growing exponentially. As we do, we have no qualms about our database. I’m as confident in MongoDB today as when we first started. As we continue to grow, we will ensure we are running on the most up-to-date versions of MongoDB. When we first updated to MongoDB 3.4, we saw a 50% improvement in performance for some of our queries, and the database keeps getting better. This is key when developing a platform that drives improvements in healthcare.