Beta Byte is a series underwritten by Bust Out Solutions for that early stage tech found somewhere between idea and traction.
What is the name of the company and/or product? Where is it found online?
What distinct problem does this solve, for who, and how does this create value?
Medication use is on the rise and drug-related morbidity/mortality costs exceed US $200B annually. Poor outcomes and increased costs can result from patient non-adherence to prescribed therapies, however medication non-adherence only accounts for 40% of medication-related issues.
We see an opportunity to improve the experience, costs and outcomes of medication use by connecting consumers to the medication experts of the healthcare team – pharmacists.
Clinical pharmacists can provide “medication checkups”, which is an office-like visit to review health history and assess medications (Rx, OTC, vitamins/supplements) for appropriateness, effectiveness, safety and ability to be taken as intended (adherence).
How did you come up with the idea or what was your motivation for starting?
Our founder has extensive experience in healthcare including pharmacy business consulting. Her experience with the launch of Medicare Part D in 2006 introduced her to a clinical pharmacy service called “Medication Therapy Management.” She thought this was genius and would become the new standard of care.
Over the years her various experiences solidified her belief that pharmacists are an underutilized resource that have the potential to transform healthcare. Market research uncovered the issues related to low awareness and perception of clinical pharmacist services and the idea was born to launch a marketplace to increase awareness and access to clinical pharmacists.
What is the full launch/release date planned?
We have targeted early 2017 for the release of our first product – an online marketplace where consumers can search for and schedule appointments with clinical pharmacists in Minnesota.
We are spending Fall 2016 working to secure our pharmacist partners for a statewide launch in Minnesota and will run a small beta before the official launch.
Who is on the team?
What is the specific technology or combination of technologies is used?
WordPress was used for the development of the “Earliest Testable Product (ETP)” and specific technologies for the minimum viable product are still under consideration.
What is the size/scope of your market and how will you scale?
Nearly 60 percent of Americans are taking a prescription medication, with 15 percent of the population taking 5 or more prescription medications. In addition to medication management services, clinical pharmacists are also providing wellness services such as health screenings and administering immunizations. This further increases the population that could benefit from clinical pharmacy services.
Medication Health is not a direct care provider and instead is partnering with clinical pharmacists by providing the marketing and technology capabilities to grow and support clinical pharmacy care. Partnering with established pharmacy organizations will allow us to efficiently scale to a national marketplace.
Who is the customer and what is your revenue model?
Our immediate customers include both pharmacists and consumers (patients). Some pharmacists practice collaboratively with physicians and we will eventually provide support to help manage that relationship. We also foresee opportunities to partner with government and public health entities to support population health initiatives.
We will not charge a fee for consumers to use the marketplace and will instead earn revenue from pharmacists paying to use our pharmacy care support applications, such as patient scheduling.
What is your greatest strength?
Our greatest strength is our deep domain expertise in healthcare and technology. Our founder has over 11 years of business and technology experience across the healthcare ecosystem and our pharmacy partners are experts in their field and committed to collaborative practice to benefit consumers (patients).
What is your biggest weakness?
Our biggest weakness is a general lack of awareness of the valuable patient care services provided by clinical pharmacists. The number one response we hear when educating consumers is “I didn’t know pharmacists could do that.” Many people think of pharmacists in the traditional dispensing role, but clinical pharmacists are providing medication checkups, health screenings, lab tests and administering immunizations. We are tasked with bringing to market a solution to a problem that consumers may not be aware that they have.
What is one resource you could use that would take this to the next level?
As perception and awareness of clinical pharmacy services are low, the one resource that would really take this to the next level is media exposure. We need the opportunity to educate the general public about clinical pharmacy services and its numerous benefits.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We will be delivering a continuing pharmacy education course at the MPhA annual conference on 9/9: Rebranding the Clinical Pharmacist
We are hosting a Healthcare.MN/Twin Cities Startup Week event on 9/23: Opportunities for Digital Health Startups in the ‘Third Wave’ of the Internet. We will also be featured in the TCSW event Women in Tech and Startups – The Real Journey (9/20).
If you would like to take a deeper dive into clinical pharmacy services, please check out the issue brief Get the Medications Right: A Dozen Lessons. This brief features Minnesota organizations HealthPartners and Goodrich Pharmacy.