© 2024
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New Online Service Makes It Easy To Share Your Medical Preferences

Koda Health

Many people are reluctant to talk about injury or serious illness, and they don’t fill out advance directives or other documents that could guide future medical care. 

Now, there’s a service that could make it easier for patients to record their wishes – an online program launching here in Virginia. 


In the Sioux language, the word koda means ally, and in music it refers to the end of a composition.  That’s why Tatiana Fofanova, Katelin Cherry and their Richmond-based business partner Desh Mohan chose to call their company Koda Health.  It takes the pressure off loved ones in a difficult time.

“Most people feel confident that they know what kind of health care their loved ones would want,” Fofanova says, but studies show people are wrong about half the time.  Physicians could explore patient wishes in advance, but they rarely do.

“Doctors are people too, and for them it’s a conversation that can be very uncomfortable or awkward," she explains.  "There’s a lot of variability in terms of how skilled they are in navigating these occasionally tricky discussions.”

So Koda Health came up with an online platform that makes it easy.

“For your annual wellness visit you start going through this process of learning what your values are, quality of life scenarios, various care preferences that might be available to you through questions and videos.”

Fofanova stresses this service is not just for elderly patients.

"This should be done when you're healthy, when you're in a good frame of mind to be making these decisions.  You don't pack your parachute as you're falling out of a plane."

Doctors and medical systems pay for the service, so it’s free to patients who can sign the necessary forms online.  They can also go through the 20-minute program from home and make changes at any time.  

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief