Hillel's Tech Corner: Changing the med game

Medication non-adherence causes over 125,000 deaths each year and generates as much as $290 billion in health-care costs.

January 11, 2019 03:51
2 minute read.

Medisafe. (photo credit: MEDISAFE)


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Company: Medisafe
Founded: November 2012 by Omri and Rotem Shor
Employees: 50
Capital raised: $24 million

Sometimes it’s the simple ideas that go farthest. In fact, oftentimes it’s those simple ideas, the ones that solve a problem we’ve always had. Those are the ones that go farthest.

I think it’s fair to say that most human beings who have to take medication encounter the following scenario at least once in their lives, “Did I end up taking that medicine or do I have to take it now? But what if I already took it and I take it again?”

It really is a very common and basic problem. The ironic thing is that we use technology to manage so many aspects of our daily lives, whether they are transportation, communication, content consumption or education. But when it comes to our health, taking medication, we rely on our very finite brains and diminishing memory capacity.

Meet Medisafe, a company founded by two brothers after their father accidentally overdosed on his insulin and nearly went into diabetic shock.

Omri and Rotem set out to create digital tools, namely a mobile platform that will prevent others from repeating their father’s mistake. Well, it turned out that this scenario, this phenomenon of mismanagement of one’s medication, is a bigger problem than anyone imagined.

How big? Medication non-adherence causes over 125,000 deaths each year and generates as much as $290 billion in health-care costs.

So it is a large global problem, which begs the question, can two Israeli brothers really fix it?

Well, Medisafe just hit five million users, and has formed a partnership with Apple to integrate into the company’s Health Records application so users can automatically transfer medication information to the app. With 10 billion data points to date, Medisafe is scaling, including collaboration with payers and pharmaceutical companies. These kinds of partnerships will help manage specific populations and provide identified real-world data on medication adherence.

Taking a quick glance at Medisafe’s reviews on the Apple App Store or at some of the emails Omri showed me, it is quite clear that this company is enhancing and often saving lives – and many of them.

According to Jon Michaeli, Medisafe EVP of marketing and business development, “About 50% of patients don’t take their medications as prescribed, which results in 700,000 [overdose] and under-dose emergencies a year.”

Medisafe offers users pill schedules, reminders to refill, and also checks surrounding pharmacies for the best price on each medication. Users now know what pills they have taken, when they took them and what they may have missed. The app also provides data which helps medical professionals track patient progress.

We’ve always had transportation in our lives, but using technology, Uber changed the game. We’ve always had work spaces in our lives, but using technology, WeWork changed the game. And we have always had and will always have medication in our lives, and by using technology, Medisafe is changing the game.

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