To be honest, the patient adherence app market is feeling a bit crowded these days. So the pressure is on for companies to develop apps and web-based programs that can add value or unique features. One health IT startup is seeking to provide another dimension to consumer health apps by adding a benefit to the pharmaceutical industry — big data.
The Israeli startup MediSafe Project launched its mobile health app for Androids and iPhones to help people keep track of their medication dosages. But it is also designed to provide potentially valuable insights for pharmaceutical companies tracking patient adherence.
The company was co-founded by two brothers — Rotem and Omri Shor — after their father accidentally overdosed on his insulin for diabetes.
The company is among the first class of graduates for the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure, its cloud platform. The four-month program helps early stage startups using a cloud-based platform, Internet and mobile.
The app’s homescreen looks like a pillbox. Medication icons represent the different drugs patients are prescribed, according to a company statement. When users add medication, they are prompted with questions on the amount, the frequency and time of day and whether or not it should be taken with food. When users take their medication, they drag these pill icons into an animated image of a mouth swallowing meds. If users forget to take their medication or don’t register they have taken it with the app, family members receive a text message notifying them.
Users can key in the generic or brand name of their medications or photograph the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s universal National Drug Code number displayed on the package. The drug name, manufacturer and medication strength gets recorded automatically.
On the industry-facing side, the app’s dashboard shows which demographics have higher non-compliance for a drug in relation to the general population. It also reveals areas in the US with the lowest prescription rates and rival drugs patients are switching to, according to a statement from the CEO and co-founder, Omri Shor. The device also has implications for tracking patient behavior.
In response to e-mailed questions, a spokeswoman said user information that makes its way to the cloud is de-identified. “At any time the user can opt out. MediSafe Project is very serious regarding the users’ privacy and security.” She also noted that the Azure cloud, where data is stored, is HIPAA-compliant.
The company is in the process of talking to pharmaceutical companies and expects to have partnership deals by the time its Beta status ends in 2013.