The idea of Medisafe was formed from a simple but nearly devastating error.
Nearly 7 years ago, CEO Omri Shor was visiting his parents in Israel when his father overdosed on insulin that nearly sent him into diabetic shock. The family averted a catastrophe by pumping him full of sugar to correct his levels.
“We say that day was the sweetest day ever,” Shor says. “Not just because of the sugar. It was also sweet because that was the inception of Medisafe.”
Since then, Shor’s company has made it a mission to prevent the kind of error that nearly killed his dad. Using digital tools, including a mobile app, Medisafe offers personalized reminders to patients designed to tackle the issue of medication nonadherence. By collecting data on the types of medications users are taking and their demographics, the company creates “microcluster profiles” of individuals to create targeted prompts.
So far, the consumer app has 4.5 million registered users and has integrated with Apple’s Health Records app so users can automatically transfer medication information to the app. Armed with 10 billion data points, the company is expanding its reach, rolling out its platform to payers and pharmaceutical companies to help manage specific populations and provide deidentified real-world data on medication adherence.
Given that medication nonadherence accounts for 125,000 deaths each year and generates as much as $290 billion in healthcare costs, Medisafe is chipping away at a big but often overlooked healthcare problem. Studies show that the app can improve adherence by 8% to 20% depending on the medication.
“The opportunity to try and fix this is huge,” Shor said.
Fierce insights from Omri Shor, CEO and founder of Medisafe
FierceHealthcare: What is your best piece of advice for launching a healthcare company that challenges the status quo?
The big idea: Digital platform improving medication management
CEO: Omri Shor
Launched: November 2012
Funding raised: $24M
Revenue: Declined to disclose
Omri Shor: Choose a problem that you’re personally linked with—not just because it’s a great opportunity. Doing a startup is difficult and takes a lot of time, but doing a healthcare startup is an ultramarathon or an ultra-Ironman triathlon: it takes more time and it’s more difficult. So choose something you truly believe will change the world and you want to be a part of for the next seven or eight years.
FH: What is the failure you’ve learned the best lesson from?
OS: In general it’s all about the people. If you choose great team members, they will go with you to places that you haven’t even imagined. Every failure in choosing the right people—from partners to investors all the way to employees and team members—it’s going to be a big challenge. It’s very important to choose your people correctly—even customers.
FH: What is one change you predict in healthcare that people wouldn’t expect?
OS: I think there will be a transition from data sets such as claims data or drug refill data. While these data will continue to be around, healthcare is moving out of the hospital into the patient’s home, and data are moving outside of the hospital walls to the real world. I think this year we’ll see more and more healthcare organizations start to shift their decision-making to shift their marketing from traditional challenges into new places.