DENVER (CBS4) A Denver-based app is leading the way as health care becomes more consumer driven.
iTriage is a cellphone app and website that helps people diagnose health problems and find the best place to seek treatment.
iTriage has more than 11 million downloads.
“We started this company about 5 1/2 years ago under the premise that if we gave people the information … put it in their hands … they would make better health care decisions,” said iTriage cofounder Wayne Guerra.
Guerra and his business partner, Peter Hudson, were emergency room doctors. Between the two of them they had seen 50,000 patients. They used that knowledge to start iTriage.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,“ Guerra told CBS4.
The app is simple to use. Users put in their gender, age and symptoms. They get back a list of several potential diagnoses and a list of places to be treated. It’s simple enough that an 11-year-old could use it.
“Sydney was experiencing … every day … pain in her chest and it kept getting worse and worse,” said Mark Britton, Sydney’s father.
“It kind of felt like maybe you had fallen really hard,” Sydney explained to CBS4.
Britton and his daughter got on iTriage and entered in her symptoms.
“The very first thing that came up was costachondritis, which we had no idea what that was,” Britton explained.
Constachondritis is inflammation of the cartilage between the ribcage. It was the result of a broken arm that Sydney was recovering from. It was also a different diagnosis than they got in the emergency room. Sydney spent five hours in the hospital undergoing tests, X-rays and getting a diagnosis of a gastrointestinal issue.
“I was thinking, ‘This can’t be true. This app and website can’t be smarter than these doctors,’ ” recalled Sydney.
Health care apps have long been criticized for providing potentially wrong information leading to misdiagnosis. Critics have also been concerned that a patient could get a serious diagnosis without the proper medical perspective or support.
“It’s super important to be trusted,” Guerra said.
The iTriage content is developed and written in Denver and then sent to Harvard Medical School for review.
“I think what people need in their time of need … they need resources and how to connect with those resources,” Guerra added.
iTriage was bought by Aetna in 2011, but is still operated out of Denver. Guerra indicated that the company is working on adding insurance coverage information to the app so that patients can get a diagnosis, information on where they can be treated, and an idea if the treatment will be covered by their insurance.
–Written for CBSDenver.com by Special Projects Producer Libby Smith