Startup’s Goal: No More Missed Meds

Posted: Updated:
A special cap for prescription bottles lights up and alarms at pre-set dosage times. A special cap for prescription bottles lights up and alarms at pre-set dosage times.

Americans’ forgetfulness is costing billions of dollars. About half of patients don’t take their medications as prescribed, especially with regard to timing, frequency and duration, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). West Lafayette-based startup Concordance Health Solutions says it’s attacking each of those factors with a technology that connects the patient’s prescription bottle, smartphone and self-motivation to ensure their dose is just what the doctor ordered.

The CDC says direct healthcare expenses associated with medication nonadherence cost about $100 billion to $300 billion annually in the U.S. Purdue Research Park-based Concordance Health Solutions co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Laura Downey says the issue causes increased hospitalizations, additional testing and treatment escalation, because patients aren’t responding to medications that doctors expect to be helping them.

“Most patients think they do decently, or even pretty well, taking their medications regularly, but in reality, they don’t realize how poorly they’re doing,” says Downey. “Medication nonadherence has been the bane of existence for anyone associated with drug delivery for a long time. And I think we’re finally starting to understand some of the underlying factors—the issues related to patients that have to be resolved.”

The startup says patients armed with its recently-launched technology, called Smart Med Reminder, have an average adherence rate of 92 percent and are consistent long-term. Unleashing the power of the Internet of Things and cloud technology, Smart Med Reminder features a special cap for prescription bottles that lights up and alarms at pre-set dosage times; using Smart Med software, the pharmacist scans a QR code or bar code to program the bottle cap at the pharmacy when dispensing the medication.

“[The cap] alarms for a minute, then chirps for another couple hours until you open the cap,” says Downey, “so it won’t stop nudging you until you actually take your medication.”

The cap also communicates with a smartphone app that simultaneously sends notifications reminding the patient it’s time for a dose, until the system detects that the cap has been removed. Patients can track their adherence, and with their permission, the system will share information—or alerts about a missed dose—with their personalized network, such as family members, doctors or pharmacists. The app also delivers educational messages to help motivate the patient to stay on track.

“Using [Smart Med] with medications for common chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes and mental health disorders can make a huge impact on treatment outcomes, because of that better adherence,” says Downey. “That’s where the real cost savings are going to show up.”

Downey says patients using the system discover that medication adherence leads to better results and enjoy using a product that “does the remembering for them.” Within the app, the patient can earn a score based on their adherence, and she says some see it as a game to maintain a high score. The startup plans to incorporate rewards for patients who maintain good scores, such as co-pay reductions, prizes sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and rewards from healthcare insurers.

“We’re much more than just a reminder; the combination of interventions makes us unique. We’re providing education, social support and incentives for patients to think about this differently and be engaged with the product. We’re also information-sharing with the healthcare team in a way that brings them into the solution,” says Downey. “We’re combining [these features] into something that’s much more comprehensive and is designed to affect a real and lasting behavior change.”

The startup says the system is inexpensive; manufacturing costs are low for the caps, which are also disposable.

“It’s affordable for patients, and more specifically, for payers and employers who are funding the cost of healthcare insurance, to be able to adopt it for a large population of patients to produce real savings,” says Downey. “Our hope is insurers and employers will adopt this technology as part of their overall healthcare plan offering.”

About a dozen Indiana pharmacies have installed Smart Med, and the startup is working to collect evidence of its value to customers.  

“Compared to other products on the market, we think Smart Med is truly better in its ability to affect patient behavior, the cost and ease of use of our system,” says Downey. “We’re excited about finding those early adopters and innovators in the marketplace that want to approach this problem differently.”

Downey says she and Concordance Health Solutions co-founder Steve Klink have interesting backgrounds that made them realize the need for the technology.
Downey says the startup is partnering with researchers in several fields to ensure Smart Med attacks the problem from multiple angles.
While missing doses is an issue, Downey says taking medications at irregular time intervals is also problematic.
  • Perspectives

    • A Pro Photographer Can Be Your Best Friend

      It's no surprise that an estimated 8.8 trillion photos were taken worldwide during 2018, given that most of us carry high-quality cameras in our phones. But shooting all those photos doesn't make us photographers. Digital technology has become a powerful equalizer in so many ways. Everyday people have access to tools that are far more sophisticated than what professionals had at their disposal a couple decades ago. High-school-age musicians can craft 24-track studio recordings in the...
    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Local Real Estate Team Appoints CEO

      Evelo Team, with Keller Williams Realty, has promoted Hannah Perkey to chief executive officer. She started with the team in 2015 and most recently served as director of operations. As CEO, Perkey will continue in the role that she has expanded into which includes oversight of all daily activities, leading the sales team, and providing strategic direction to the team.

    • Chamber Unveils 'Best Places to Work'

      The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has released its list of the Best Places to Work in Indiana. This year's list features 125 companies throughout the state, including more than 40 that were not on the list last year. The chamber will unveil company rankings April 30 at an awards dinner at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Winners are sorted into four categories based on size. Out-of-state parent companies must have at least 15 full-time employees in Indiana to...

    • Amendment Makes Major Change to Hate Crimes Bill

      A bill that would allow for longer sentences for hate crimes is moving forward with a significant change. Our partners at WIBC report the Senate passed an amendment Tuesday that removed the list of individual groups that would be covered under the law. Originally, Senate Bill 12 said a sentence could be lengthened if someone convicted of a crime was found to have deliberately targeted someone based on factors including race, religion, and sexual orientation, among others.

    • Lev Bringing Headquarters to Indy

      Marketing technology consulting firm Lev has announced plans to relocate its headquarters to Indianapolis. The company, which is currently based in Arizona, says it plans to hire 70 employees this year, part of a previously-announced effort to create up to 175 jobs by 2021. Lev has had a presence in Indianapolis for nearly three years and Chief Executive Officer Michael Burton says, since that time, the company has outgrown every space it has occupied in Indy. In an interview with...

    • Mixed-Use Project Proposed For Speedway Main Street

      A Fishers-based commercial real estate development firm is proposing an $8 million mixed-use development in Speedway. Rebar Development says the project would redevelop a section of Main Street that would include residential, office and retail space.