It’s one of healthcare’s great mysteries: How the heck do we get patients to take their medicines?
We’re offering them cash rewards, giving them high-tech pill dispensers and sending them mobile reminders. Soon we’ll even be feeding them smart pills. But RxAnte Inc. is built on the idea that we should step back for a minute and do some analyzing.
The startup isn’t trying to create interventions for medication adherence; rather, it’s trying to help clinicians, payers and pharmaceutical companies know which patients will be non-compliant, and which interventions would be most likely to help them, according to CEO Josh Benner.
“The big mystery is not that we don’t know how to improve adherence – this big body of science is pretty clear that providers can improve adherence by talking to patients at the right time and counseling them,” he said. “But there are workflow and economic barriers to doing that.”
RxAnte’s proprietary analytics platform uses data to identify patients within a population who are at risk for becoming non-adherent, and then recommends the most appropriate interventions for those specific patients. It also tracks adherence over time, eventually allowing providers, payers, benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers to compare the effectiveness and ROI of different adherence interventions.
The company has just rounded up a $4.6 million series A from Aberdare Ventures and West Health Investment Fund, which it says it will use to expand the commercialization of its services and built on to them.
“It’s an exciting time, because medication adherence is being adopted as a quality measure,” Benner said. The first place that’s happened is in Medicare, and with that in mind, the company plans to expand its services to Medicare health plans, with the hope of helping those clients improve their star ratings.
The lack of medication adherence is estimated to cost the U.S. $290 billion in healthcare costs annually, according to one estimate from the New England Healthcare Institute. Research over the years has tested dozens of factors that may influence a patient’s likeliness to comply with medication plans, from age and gender to beliefs about medication and health literacy. RxAnte’s analysis uses existing clinical and administrative data – so, more of age and gender-type factors and less personality traits – to tell providers and payers which patients to target.
Great idea, right?
Right, which is why FICO, a Minneapolis company known for its credit scoring, developed a similar proprietary medication adherence scoring system that it rolled out last year. This year, Express Scripts followed suit with its ScreenRx predictive analytics.
But the market opportunity for this kind of product is continuing to grow, according to Benner. “I think we will see more adoption of adherence in other quality measurements and pay-for-performance scenarios over time,” he added. “That’s likely to happen in Medicaid and community health plans as well, and providers are going to be held increasingly accountable.”
Benner is the former managing director at the Brookings Institution’s Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and a former principal at ValueMedics Research. Several members of the RxAnte leadership team also come from ValueMedics, IMS Health (which bought ValueMedics) and the Brookings Institute.
Founded as Crimson Health LLC in 2008, the company became RxAnte when it brought the product to market in the fall. It’s stationed outside of Washington, D.C., in McLean, Virginia.