Kevin Aniskovich, CEO, Jumo Health “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” - Albert Einstein
In a world saturated with complex health information, the need for people to identify accurate sources, understand the information, and be able to act upon it is more critical than ever. This ability to process the information needed to make health care decisions and follow provider instructions is called health literacy. The lack of health literacy, combined with global deficiencies in reading comprehension, has led to a culture of non-compliance and results in suboptimal health outcomes.
As an industry, we have done a poor job addressing this underlying communication challenge when speaking with patients and caregivers. The staggering reality is that 90 percent of people are health illiterate. 50 percent of adults cannot read above an 8th grade level, yet consumer health information continues to be written, on average, at a tenth grade level. In addition, studies show that patients only remember 20% of what is told to them during a doctor visit and that 50% of what they “remember” is actually not correct. This reality has a snowball effect on the industry, with rampant non-compliance for promoted brands and in clinical trials that struggle to recruit and retain participants, resulting in delays that impede important drug discovery.
Jumo Health has the answer.
Jumo Health’s story began over a decade ago when its two founders, both medical students at the time, identified a disturbing trend in pediatrics. It was clear when discussing health issues with patients and caregivers that fear and anxiety around a new diagnosis interfered with their ability to understand information critical to the patient’s care. In addition, written materials and instructions were perplexing and difficult to decipher. To combat this issue, they took on the challenge of developing easy to understand resources that could be distributed at the point of care. Unlike others before them, these materials took the form of comic books with illustrative characters – the “Medikidz” superheroes – who portrayed health concepts in a manner a child could understand. For the first time, children could be engaged in their own care and better understand what was happening to and around them.
Fast forward 10 years and that initial pediatric experience has led to the distribution of nearly 5 million comic books of varying titles to 65 countries in 55 languages and an expansion into videos and podcasts to reach more diverse age cohorts. As a result of this evolution from print to mixed media, the Company rebranded under the Jumo Health moniker and began serving a broader global audience with solutions for promoted pharmaceutical brands and within clinical trials. “Today, we are proud to create award-winning health care resources in the form of comic books, podcasts, and videos that patients and caregivers can easily understand and act upon,” says Kevin Aniskovich, CEO of Jumo Health. The company’s age appropriate offerings break the barriers to understanding complex health care topics while increasing health literacy in an effort to reduce non-compliance.
Creating Superheroes of Health Care
According to Aniskovich, Jumo Health is a group of dedicated and creative pragmatists who want to impact healthcare today. Rather than attempting “moonshots,” Jumo Health focuses its product design efforts on reversing the fundamental issues of health literacy to impact outcomes today. “If a patient or caregiver cannot understand or act upon a physician’s instructions, we shouldn’t be surprised by the high trial leakage and medication switch statistics,” suggests Aniskovich.
“Our process starts with an evidence-based approach that includes a third party peer review to ensure our content is above reproach. Our ability to stitch that into an engaging storyline that marries the verbal with the visual is what allows consumers without advanced educational degrees to understand and comply with physicians’ instructions,” adds Aniskovich.
We create award-winning health care resources in the form of comic books, podcasts, and videos that patients and caregivers can easily understand and act upon
Backed by this historical experience, Jumo Health provides a suite of resources for patients of all ages and their families in print and digital formats, including comic books, videos, podcasts, and games. But how does this serve the critical needs of today’s medical space? Aniskovich says, “We believe an informed patient is a capable patient. For too long the industry has ignored the role age appropriate resources can play in adherence. Deficiencies in health literacy and reading comprehension impact patient care, period. By creating authentic resources with relatable patient stories to explain a condition, treatment pathway, or how to manage living with a disease, we ensure the patient is at the center of the experience.” To date, Jumo Health has created solutions covering approximately 200 health care topics, ranging from asthma and allergies to diabetes, mental health, and MRIs.
Molding the “Super” Content
As a company with a patient-centric approach, Jumo Health pays keen attention to ensuring that its products meet the needs of the market. The first step toward this is delivering relatable content to end-users. To effectuate this, Jumo Health deploys an inspiring team with significant industry knowledge and passion for serving their clients. The Company’s medical editorial team is led by Columba Quigley, a medical doctor whose CV includes The Cochrane Collaboration, one of the oldest evidence-based research institutions – fitting for her current role in helping articulate the complex in simpler form, often by layering in real patient stories to provide a more relatable resource. Working in concert with Product and Creative, the cross department collaboration blends research, storytelling, and visual aids to ensure that the products have a perfect balance of evidence-based literature with a narrative that a lay person can understand.
The “Jumo” Way in Clinical Trials
Aniskovich refers to a common theme that cripples the clinical trials – the “leaky pipe.” For every 100 patients who enter a clinical trial, only seven complete the trial. This leads to a situation where 80 percent of trials fail to finish on time, 20 percent of those get delayed by six or more months, two-thirds never meet their patient enrollment goals, and 85 percent will fail to retain enough patients.
"Our patient-first approach to product design makes certain we never lose sight of Clinical Trial Solutions patient outcomes"
In addition to complex medical terminology and complicated treatment plans, the legal language that pervades certain clinical trial documents make matters worse. A recent study reveals that as much as 35 percent of drop-outs in a clinical trial found the informed consent form difficult to understand. If you can’t explain what is expected of the participant in a way they can understand, you are only delaying a negative event. “Our approach to informed assent and consent,” shared Aniskovich, “is to use a visual media, such as animations or traditional flipcharts, to encourage discussion between the patient and physician; to explain the legal language that accompanies those forms.” In a recent survey, respondents were asked what would be most helpful to make informed decisions about participating in a clinical trial. The answer was simple – make it easier for them to learn about clinical trials and communicate to them more effectively.
From Concept to Fruition
Backed with a powerful value proposition, corporate culture, and patient-centric approach, Jumo Health has garnered a broad client base across the globe. An example that well exemplifies Jumo Health’s excellence in the field is a recent project on the study of familial hypercholesterolemia. The client needed to recruit and retain patients across two sister studies with difficult protocols, disparate age cohorts, and multiple countries and languages.
Jumo Health collaborated with the project team to better understand their needs and to mitigate the challenges on patient enrollment and retention. It was a difficult situation as the trial was being conducted in 23 countries with a complex study protocol. The Jumo Health team provided a solution that aligned well with the client’s requirements -- a solution that was localized by country and served multiple age cohorts, ultimately delivering over 600 educational resources in print, digital, and video formats. This is one example of how age appropriate resources can explain a protocol, set patient expectations, and mitigate delays in recruitment. This approach is also used for promotional brands that, find it advantageous to ensure patient understanding of their condition and how to effectively manage it going forward. All of Jumo Health’s solutions seek to reverse the fear and anxiety often associated with a diagnosis or in clinical trial – factors that can have detrimental downstream effects.
The Road to Be Taken
Inspired by its success in diversifying beyond condition-specific comic books, Jumo Health is taking steps to extend its solutions for both in trial and in market brands. From continued work on medication compliance, informed assent and consent, and using predictive analytics to monitor key inflection points, the Company is positioning itself along the entire patient journey. “Our patient-first approach to product design makes certain we never lose sight of patient outcomes, that we serve the entire care circle, and that we continue to seek economies that depress costs to ensure global access,” concludes Aniskovich.