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How Medisafe is using AI to improve patient adherence

Dina Patel speaks to Omri Shor, Co-Founder and CEO of Medisafe, to find out how his medication management app is tackling the problem of poor adherence.

Seventy-five percent of Americans have trouble taking their medicine as directed. This non-adherence to prescribed medicines is causing 125,000 deaths a year. Economically, this costs the United States between $100bn and $300bn annually.

Meanwhile, in the UK, it has been estimated that £300m worth of NHS prescribed medicines are wasted each year, one reason being that patients intentionally or unintentionally fail to adhere to instructions.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that by 2020, chronic diseases will account for almost three-quarters of all deaths worldwide. In particular, WHO predicts the number of people in the developing world with diabetes is set to increase from 84 million in 1995 to 228 million in 2025. A number of these patients will not take their medication correctly and this will have a detrimental impact on their health, proving the gravitas of this issue.

Omri Shor (pictured below), Co-Founder and CEO of Medisafe, a personalised medication management platform, tells BLH how the organisation is making it easier for patients to efficiently and effectively track their medications.

How did you come up with the idea for Medisafe?

OS: Back in 2012, my father – who is diabetic – came to me with a question, which was “have you seen me inject my insulin?”. I gave him a quick answer, “no, I haven’t seen you take your insulin.” Unfortunately, he took it to mean, “no, you haven’t injected your medicine.” The outcome of that was he double dosed on his medications. This could have been fatal but fortunately for us, he is still with us today.That’s when my brother and I decided we were going to try and solve the problem. We started Medisafe to help my father and many others. At the same time, our vision is also to empower individuals to improve their health using technology, and to help our partners – the pharmaceutical companies.

Like my father, 700,000 people a year in the US will underdose or overdose on medication. This is the huge problem. Of those 700,000 people, 125,000 people will die every year. Every four minutes an American will die from misusing medication. We’re solving this problem by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to personalise medication management for individuals.

There are many reasons why people don’t take their medication – from ‘I don’t want to feel sick’, to ‘I don’t trust the doctor’, ‘I don’t want to put chemicals into my mouth’, ‘I don’t trust the pharmaceutical company’, or ‘I forgot to take it’. To solve this, we create a profile, and we deliver a set of interventions for every person who uses our platform.

What did the planning stage for Medisafe involve?

OS: I spoke with everyone across the industry and with many patients. I interviewed pharmaceutical companies to try and analyse the problem of medication management and understand how we can solve that problem for people on a larger scale. We have a behavioural scientist on the team who, with the group in charge of user experience, interviewed patients. We agreed that the first stage for the company was to design a socially enhanced medication management platform that would remind you to take your medication. If you don’t do that on time, it will notify a designated family member, spouse, or whoever the patient chooses. That was the first step, and after we had proven it worked, we sought to raise money and continued from there.

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22nd March 2019

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