We aim to fix the underlying system so the hard work of researchers and care providers is more impactful.
What is Pathfinder Health?
A Digital Platform for Monitoring Children's Development
Pathfinder Health (PFH) believes it is important to have an easily accessible and cost-effective autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and development screening tool for parents or guardians to assess their child at an early age. According to estimates from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, there was a 15% increase in the prevalence of children diagnosed with ASD in the United States (Autism Speaks, 2018). In 2018, about 1 in 59 children had been identified with ASD. Another estimated prevalence of ASD in the US was 1 in 40 children, according to parent-reported diagnosis (Kogan et al, 2018). Most children living with ASD do not undergo a diagnosis at a young age due to access barriers such as diagnostic and medical expenses, time constraints, travel difficulty, misinformation type of service provider, parenting practices and stigma (Guler et al, 2018).
Currently, the process for diagnosing a child with ASD (Autism) is long and challenging. The average age of a child diagnosed is 4 years old despite multiple studies showing the same children can be successfully diagnosed as early as 16 months. The average length of time it takes a family to go from the point of initial concern about their child's development to getting a diagnosis is an average of 22 months. During these 22 months, the family and child must wait for appointments with specialists (some who have a waitlist longer than a year) and are generally not in control of the situation. The average annual cost of caring for a child with ASD is ~$100K. It is scientifically proven that the earlier the intervention on a child with ASD, the better the results: The child's short and long-term health improves and the cost on the family and the community lessens. The root cause of the above problems is the architecture of the system.
How are we solving the problem?
Pathfinder Health aims to flip the system on its head, putting the family in the driver seat of their child's diagnosis. Our online platform gives parents and caregivers the tools to collect data on a child's development using Gold Standard screenings and tools used by physicians and centers of excellence. By giving the parents these tools, we can amass evidence much faster than the current system, cutting the 22 months timeline to a fraction.
Our app is currently in beta, with new features and updates launched weekly. Check it out here:
To fully experience the app, please create an account and add a fictional child (18 to 24 months old) to your profile.
Every parent/guardian is able to conduct age-appropriate developmental screenings of their child(ren). Based on the results of the screenings, our Recommendation Engine provides the next best steps for the parent to take, from going immediately to a physician (if there is high risk), engaging local early intervention services, or continuing to monitor at a regular cadence.
Once a screening is conducted, our app prompts the parent to regularly document their child's development through our Journal feature. Parents can invite other caretakers to the Journal, expanding the number of entries of a child. The Journal gives physicians valuable insight into the daily development of the child, something they previously didn't have access to in a clinical setting.
The screenings and the Journal feed valuable data to our Recommendation Engine, allowing us to tailor the next steps for the parent. This may include advanced screenings typically not available to parents until they've waited months or years. It can also include genetic testing. PFH has partnered with OPUS, the genetic testing subsidiary of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, to provide at-home testing for ASD and counseling with the parents as they review the test's results. The advanced screenings and genetic testing provide more data back into the recommendation engine.
The key output from PFH is an "impression and recommendation" package. This package is the summation of all the screenings, testing, and data presented in a coherent manner to the child's attending physicians. Using this package, physicians are able to make diagnosis much faster and with much greater confidence than the existing system.