Gozio Health looks to help hospitals move in the right direction

The company’s technology helps patients navigate sprawling hospitals, along with scheduling and billing. CEO Joshua Titus says Gozio’s platform helps hospitals see higher patient engagement.

It doesn’t take long for Joshua Titus to get to the obvious question when talking about Gozio Health.

Is it necessary to have an app that helps patients get to the hospital?

Titus, the CEO of Gozio Health, says his company’s technology helps patients get to the hospital and much more. The Atlanta-based company partners with hospitals and health systems on patient engagement solutions.

Gozio helps patients get to the hospital and the specific floor and department they need, which can be daunting for patients or family members visiting a large, sprawling hospital. Gozio also helps patients navigate their way to the parking lot and even the nearest vending machines. Beyond navigation, Gozio enables patients to schedule appointments and pay bills.

In a recent interview with Chief Healthcare Executive, Titus talked about Gozio and its potential to help health systems connect with patients. (The story continues below the video.)

Titus said the system’s wayfinding component came out of his earlier experience working with smartphones and silicon chips. “I knew the greasy underbelly of smartphones and the sensors that went into them,” he said.

“The idea of these hospitals that have grown organically over time, they’re these huge labyrinths,” Titus said. “You’re stressed when you’re there, your normal 150 IQ is running at about 75, because you’re stressed about some clinical outcome. Can I somehow help you navigate the system? Using the sensors on a smartphone that I had access to and understanding of, can I bring those to bear on the problem? It turns out that we could.”

Titus said that was the genesis of Gozio, but it was only the beginning.

“We’re going to help people on a rather rough day, getting people through these big hospitals. And what we realized, once we had people engaging on mobile, there’s so much more that we can do on mobile as we do in all other walks of life and experiences, where mobile is our problem-solving companion, essentially,” he said.

“To take that and solve problems in healthcare is what we’ve dedicated ourselves to since then,” Titus said.

Connecting with care

In an interview at the American Hospital Association Leadership Summit last month, Titus said the company is showing it can help health systems improve their patient engagement.

“I think what we’re doing that is unique is that we are taking the experiences and human nature that happens in all other walks of life outside healthcare… and we’re bringing that into a system that is probably a decade behind,” Titus said.

Gozio Health is partnering with more than 30 health systems, and around 200 hospitals, on their patient engagement platforms. The company is working with Piedmont Healthcare, Grady Health System, Baptist Health in Jacksonville, University Health in San Antonio, Yale New Haven Health and others.

UNC Health partnered with Gozio’s wayfinding service and WELL Health’s patient communication platform and reported a 443% increase in downloads and digital interactions.

Titus said Gozio's wayfinding device to help patients avoid getting lost actually only represents a portion of the company’s platform.

“The rest of it is, once I have those mobile eyeballs, once I have someone engaged with my hospital system’s mobile application, what are the other pieces that I want?

“There’s virtual care, maybe it’s access to care in terms of quick care, and urgent care, maybe the ED I need to visit,” Titus said. “Schedule some time on my doctor’s calendar. Find the right doctor for me: ear nose and throat that speaks Spanish and availability tomorrow near my house. This helps me connect with care that way.”

Gozio’s platform can also help patients access their electronic medical records and pay bills.

“All those other pieces that by themselves wouldn’t be compelling enough to engage me, when you combine them together in the whole, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts,” Titus said. “And that is what we’ve learned in mobile engagement in healthcare.”

It’s the combination of features and services on the platform that drive engagement, such as hand-holding a patient trying to navigate the maze that is the hospital to scheduling follow-up appointments, he said. “The sticky features cause me to return again,” Titus said.

Driving higher engagement

Titus said a key early lesson in Gozio’s growth is that there’s not any one singular feature that is going to drive consumers to use the app. However, Titus said the goal is to provide enough “key components that you hit a tipping point.”

“The app stores are strung with the skeletons of attempts to get people to engage on mobile devices,” Titus said. “One thing that Gozio has learned how to do is how to get not thousands but tens of thousands of people to engage on a mobile device daily with hospital systems.”

Titus said he is enthusiastic about Gozio’s prospects for the future.

"The utility of it is the fact that people actually use it," Titus said. "To do that you have to deliver value to the patient or the visitor, that makes their life better in some way. Once you do that, then you’re in good shape. We struggled to do it for years and I think we cracked the secret code here at Gozio to get people to engage."

Before co-founding Gozio, Titus spent 12 years at the computing company NVIDIA. He also worked with Dell Computers, Ross Technology and Xpeed.

Gozio is based in Atlanta, with offices in “a cool part of town,” Titus said, but many of Gozio’s employees work remotely. “We view that as a way to attract and retain talent,” he said.

As Gozio grows, Titus said he aims to keep the company’s unique culture.

Citing one of Gozio’s prime features of its technology, Titus says he wants to grow while continuing “to build a team that doesn’t lose its way.”