Winner of Henry Ford Innovations Digital Inclusion Challenge Makes End of Life Planning & Advance Directives More Accessible

October 13, 2021

Detroit (Oct. 13, 2021) – A Houston-based digital health company that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to facilitate important, difficult end of life conversations is the winner of Henry Ford Health System’s first ever Digital Inclusion Challenge.

Henry Ford Innovations, a multi-disciplinary team responsible for leveraging intellectual property and partnering with early-stage companies on ways to improve patient care & community health and healthcare delivery & operations, teamed up with Google Cloud and Miracle Software Systems to launch the challenge in May.

With nearly 150 entries from 13 countries, a panel of leaders with expertise in healthcare, health disparities and technology, chose Koda Health for its potential to increase equity of access to advance care planning through its free, easy-to-use platform.

Traditionally, planning for end-of-life medical care has been accessible largely to those fortunate enough to have resources. Minority populations, particularly Black patients, complete advance care planning half as often as Caucasian populations.

“Henry Ford is a mission-based system that is committed to serving the community. With that we are dedicated to closing the digital inclusion gap in Detroit that was exasperated by Covid-19,” said Lisa Prasad, Chief Innovation Officer of the Henry Ford Innovation Institute. “Our physicians are excited to partner with Koda to ensure that patients receive the care that is important to them when they need it the most.”

Koda’s platform provides one place for patients, working with Koda-member heath care systems and health plans, to start what can be a difficult conversation with loved ones and move through the advance planning process in an informed way. The process includes an online values and needs assessment to determine end of life medical preferences and also the documents such as notaries and legal approvals, to quickly and easily produce an advance directive.

That directive gives patients, families and physicians access to clear, legal binding medical preferences if the time when a patient cannot make those decisions and may prevent situations such as family strife & the burden of high medical costs while honoring the patients’ wishes.

Koda Health designed the platform to be free of bias and with clear direction that will help protect patient decisions and care when they need it the most. The start-up’s technology became especially relevant during COVID-19, when patients were unable to communicate, and their families may not have at bedside.

As the winner of the Digital Inclusion Challenge, Koda Health will receive $75,000 in-kind funding to co-develop its breakthrough technology at Henry Ford. Additionally, Koda will benefit from access to notable Henry Ford mentors and subject matter experts to navigate development factors that are critical for widespread clinical adoption.

“It is crucial that we continue to find solutions to health inequities that disproportionately plague communities of color from birth to end of life,” said Martina Caldwell, M.D., Director of Diversity, and Inclusion, Henry Ford Medical Group. “The Koda tool has the potential to improve access to critical end-of-life planning so that all patients, regardless of economic status and other systemic barriers, can share their final wishes with their clinicians, loved ones, and other caretakers. Everyone deserves this opportunity, and we are happy to do what we can to support it and incorporate into our patient, family and care team relationship.”

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MEDIA CONTACT: Kim North Shine / 313-549-4995 / [email protected]

About Henry Ford Health System
Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes Henry Ford Medical Group, with more than 1,900 physicians and researchers practicing in more than 50 specialties at locations throughout Southeast and Central Michigan. Acute care hospitals include Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, MI – both Magnet® hospitals; Henry Ford Macomb Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. The largest of these is Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a quaternary care research and teaching hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center recognized for clinical excellence in cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, and multi-organ transplants. The health system also provides comprehensive, best-in-class care for cancer at the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, and orthopedics and sports medicine at the William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medicine – both in Detroit. As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Henry Ford Health System annually trains more than 3,000 medical students, residents, and fellows in more than 50 accredited programs, and has trained nearly 40% of the state’s physicians. Our dedication to education and research is supported by nearly $100 million in annual grants from the National Institutes of Health and other public and private foundations. Our not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan (HAP) provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people. Henry Ford Health System employs more than 33,000 people, including more than 1,600 physicians, more than 6,600 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals.

About Henry Ford Innovations
Henry Ford Innovations (HFI) is one the nation’s leading healthcare innovation programs. We are distinguished by the fact that our “lab” is a 2,400-bed integrated hospital system, our “developers” are researchers and world-class medical practitioners, and our “proof-of-concept” uses the full spectrum of Henry Ford’s technology, data, and know-how to take a product from concept to rapid adoption. www.henryford.com/innovations

About Koda Health
Koda Health builds tools to make difficult conversations in healthcare simple. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the Texas Medical Center, and Techstars United Healthcare, Koda’s flagship Advance Care Planning (ACP) software platform provides everyday clinicians
the ability to engage their patients in valuable conversations about their care preferences. Through Koda, patients have a single source to explore their values, identify a surrogate decision maker, define their quality of life, indicate treatments that matter,
and complete and share advance directives — all without burdening their care team. By working with health systems and health plans, Koda increases revenue for billing providers, drives cost savings for at-risk systems, and ultimately is able to offer their
services to patients completely for free. 
Koda Health is based in Houston, TX and was co-founded by Dr. Tatiana Fofanova (Chief Executive Officer), Dr. Desh Mohan (Chief Medical Officer), and Katelin
Cherry
(Chief Technology Officer).