Health IT

Duke’s research, startup’s mobile messaging platform meet in joint venture for patient compliance

A new mobile health startup is bringing together industry and academia to help providers and payers address patient non-compliance.

Improved Patient Outcomes Inc. (IPO) is a new joint venture spun around research from Duke University and mobile health technology from Cleveland company CellepathicRx.

CellepathicRx designs mobile messaging programs that use reminders, educational messages, motivational messages and trackers to encourage patients to comply with their prescribed regimens. IPO will apply to that technology Duke’s behavioral research platform, which has been the subject of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, said CEO Greg Muffler, who is also CEO of CellepathicRx.


Leveraging both pieces, IPO will be able to let its customers – pharmaceutical companies, providers, payers and pharmacies – send tailored messages to patients based on research about the behavioral tendencies associated with 75 specific disease states. These messages can be delivered by email, text or web.

“It’s about getting the right patient the right message at the right time using their preferred channel,” Muffler said.

Others companies focus on providing medication reminders (count RememBottle, MedMinder Systems and TextMinderRx among those), but that’s only part of IPO’s solution, Muffler stated. IPO customizes the message based on a patient’s diseases state or drug. A program for a patient with hypertension, for example, might include the basic medication reminders but also might include a smoking cessation component, or educational messages about diet and exercise, or stress management – all kinds of content aimed at helping patients achieve better outcomes.

Using Duke’s research, the company can also help clients determine which patients are most at-risk for medication non-compliance. By tapping into their pharmacy management systems, EMRs or e-prescribers, pharmacists and providers could identify and flag at-risk patients for additional interventions, if they opted into the service.

The mobile platform operates two ways, so patients who receive these messages can also send secure messages to someone within their ACO through the HIPAA-compliant system.

In an ideal world, all of these factors would lead to better compliance, which would in turn improve outcomes for patients. That would also create better customers for drug companies and pharmacies and help providers and health plans improve their CMS star ratings.

The $290 billion patient non-compliance problem has sprouted a new class of companies addressing the same market as IPO, from RxAnte, which uses data to predict which patients will be non-compliant and which interventions would help them, to PillJogger and HealthPrize, which use gaming to motivate and reward patients for taking their medications.

CellepathicRx is based in Cleveland with offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was formed under the name Access Mobility Inc.

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