In 2008, Hurricane Ike ripped through the Gulf Coast, causing $37.5 billion in damage and displacing thousands. While helping displaced residents at a free health clinic in the hurricane’s aftermath, Stanford undergraduate Vineet Singal identified a problem that can be found nearly anywhere in the U.S.—low-income families’ medical care often began and ended in the office. Most families didn’t have the support they needed to treat ongoing medical issues or avoid behavior that could put them at risk of illness.
One problem was particularly thorny: Healthcare providers lacked the ability to advise patients efficiently and reliably once they left the clinic. The providers spent valuable time crafting tailored messages, but once they hit “send,” they had no visibility into delivery statistics or response rates, which are critical to measuring the success of medical outreach campaigns.