Bio: Jessica has worked in the cancer care industry for over 10 years with a focus on digital innovation and patient centricity. She is a grad school alum of Vanderbilt University and has spanned the industry from patient facing to biopharmaceutical but in recent years has become increasingly interested in the intersection of artificial intelligence and business strategy. Having lost her mother to breast cancer at a young age, she eventually decided to join forces with co-founder Monica Schmiede to innovate within women’s cancer forming Athelo Health. Jessica is a proud descendant of the Wahpeton Oyate Sioux tribe, wife to her partner Kelly, formerly homeless social activist and committed dog and cat mom.
Org Info: Athelo Health is the first biometric anchored virtual supportive care tool for patients with breast and gynecologic cancers. Athelo integrates with digital biomarkers in cell phones as well as common wearable devices to help patients understand what’s happening in their body while remotely monitoring for patient outcomes for the care team. Our platform is founded upon three pillars: biometrics, health literacy and peer connection. Athelo Health is committed to the equity of access and quality of care to all women with cancer because we believe no woman should have to attend medical school to simply understand their journey to wellness. We’re excited in 2023 to expand our services to provide further insights into microbiome testing, nutrition, nurse navigators and more.
What motivated you to pursue your current work?
When my mother was in her late 30’s she discovered a lump in her breast. As many know we typically don’t do mammograms until after the age of 40, so it was an incredibly challenging time for her as a woman of indigenous descent with little access to education. After months of not being believed by doctors it was eventually discovered that she had aggressive breast cancer and I unfortunately lost her a few days after I turned 13. We started Athelo to build tools for women like my mother in an effort to align all stakeholders to provide whole patient and culturally proactive care that goes beyond simply treating a tumor.
What distinct value does your work bring to the digital health field?
As a B2B company so many tools like this are built with the care team or provider in mind and our goal with Athelo was to build a platform with our end user (the patient) at the forefront while showing we can still add value through billable services and reduction in costs to our customers (healthcare systems and payers). Athelo is uniquely positioned to cover the entire care continuum from diagnosis through remission and has the potential to loop that patient back into active treatment should they have a recurrence of disease. By utilizing digital biomarkers we can assess risk and real-world evidence around patient progress while also providing a personalized care path for them that looks at the whole patient experience. We always say that 20% of what happens to a cancer patient is in the clinic and we want to impact the other 80% of their lives to promote wellness and recovery.
How does your work impact your target end-users or stakeholders?
Athelo provides our patients wrap-around integrative care that is typically only offered at leading healthcare institutions. Through that mission we enable healthcare systems to bill for additional services they otherwise may not offer as well as bill through various CPT codes that generate revenue for them while also improving the overall patient experience. For healthcare payers, we reduce the overall cost of care while not sacrificing the quality of care through a hybrid or virtual patient supportive care program. As the industry continues to evolve within Value Based Care, we believe Athelo will be well-positioned to address the nuances of care that will improve adherence, retention and engagement scores.
What is one exciting update or near-term opportunity that you would like to share with the digital health community?
We are so excited for Athelo to be part of the 1501 Health program in collaboration with Lifebridge Health Services and CareFirst BCBS of Maryland where we are looking forward to offering the Athelo platform to the 3.5M patients they serve. Additionally, we are launching a raise this year that will enable us to execute on our early partnerships as well as expand our services into several states in the next 12-24 months to offer further medical care such as microbiome testing, nutritional counseling, mental and financial health services, nurse navigators and more. In 2024 and beyond, Athelo will be expanding into additional indications of oncology as well as into non-US markets. We welcome everyone to join our mission of democratizing integrative cancer care for patients who need it most.