Application Areas

Starship Health Technologies works in three board areas:

Increasing health equity and access to care by empowering underserved communities.

Improving provider-patient communication, in the context of social, cultural, and economic barriers and biases that hinder communication.

Improving care coordination to increases shared situation awareness among healthcare providers.


Mitigating Health Disparities

The environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age affect their health, functioning, and interactions with the health care system. Individuals from underserved communities and populations (e.g., individuals with low income, racial, ethnic, religious and gender-identification minorities, and/or disabilities) frequently encounter barriers in gaining access to and engaging with cancer healthcare services. The result is systemic disparities in experiences and outcomes, independent of diagnosis. Starship performs research projects and system design efforts to identify root causes of observed disparities and to create mobile health interventions that can mitigate their effects.


Leveraging Social Networks to Self-Manage Type 2 Diabetes in a low income minority community
Starship partnered with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to research how social networks could enhance Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) self-management by persons with T2DM living in low-income communities. Such communities face high incidence of T2DM as a consequence of multiple systemic barriers to nutrition and healthcare. We used qualitative methods to understand the barriers to self-management and, through participatory design with community members, identified mobile application (app) functions that mobilize social resources to surmount those barriers.See Publication
A roadmap for cardiovascular care after release from incarceration
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its risk factors disproportionately affect people returning from incarceration. These returning citizens face multiple barriers to obtaining care, which can affect CVD and risk factor management. Starship partnered with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to explore the CVD-related needs of returning citizens, and determine if, and how, a mobile health app could improve their CV health. We found that returning citizens CVD risk factors could be most effectively addressed in combination with other pressing needs related to employment, housing, and behavioral health. Using participatory design with returning citizens and other stakeholders who work closely with them, we created a design and prototype for a mobile app to link returning citizens to integrated healthcare and social services.

Supporting Care coordination

Persistent and ad hoc teams of health care professionals are best served by effective collaboration and coordination of patient care, with the goals of reducing costs, enhancing patient outcomes, and promoting availability and equity of care. However, the current system is Balkanized by many factors, including multiple payer and provider organizations, the complex social structure of the medical profession, siloed information systems, and poor integration of patients and their caregivers into the coordination process. Starship performs research projects and system engineering efforts to better understand and to improve care coordination. In addition to the traditional healthcare provider roles, we are particularly interested in amplifying and supporting the work of emerging front-line “edge” roles such as Community Health Workers, and Patient Navigators.


System for Navigational Assistance to cancer Patients (SNAP)
We partnered with the University of Virginia to research how cancer patient navigators work with patients to surmount their barriers to care. Working closely with navigators, patients and patient informal caregivers, we identified needs for information technology support, and designed SNAP as an app to meet those needs. SNAP has user roles for patients, informal caregivers, and patient navigators, and helps users resolve care coordination problems, find trustable educational information, and find and engage with external resources to help them surmount their barriers.
Social Network Analysis of Communications About Patients (SNOCAP)
We researched how primary care providers (PCPs) initiated and then participated in chains of communications about patients whose problems required coordination beyond PCP care. Working with Drexel University College of Medicine, we created an extensive body of data that led us to create the Care Coordination and Analysis (CCDA) tools for care coordination microanalysis. The CCDA analysis of the dataset also led to a demonstration mobile health app through which health care professionals (HCPs), patients, and caregivers could access and participate in the flow of communications that make up the process of care coordination.See Publication

Improving Clinical communications

Person to person communication – between patient and provider and between and among providers – is the foundation of effective health care and patient empowerment. Today, clinical communication is often ineffective, yet providers receive only minimal education or training in this critical skill. Starship is working toward a future where clinical communications will be timelier, more effective, and fully frictionless. Our research and products will improve the communication skills of healthcare professionals and help them to adapt to an increasingly diverse patient population and the demands of enhanced collaboration and care coordination.


Realizing Enhanced Patient Encounters with Adaptive Tutoring (REPEAT)
We undertook R&D to create an mobile learning product to help health care providers improving communication skills in clinical encounters with minority patients. Working with the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical School, we developed a learning curriculum for culturally adaptive communication with low-income African American patients affected by prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). That curriculum was embedded in a REPEAT app, through which learners received didactic instruction and engaged in simulated encounters with computer-generated Synthetic Standardized Patients (SSPs) in a video-game based environment.See Publication