Drugmakers are offering more support programs for patients taking their meds, but patients don’t always know about them. Imagine if pharma could offer that help directly, at the very moment patients felt overwhelmed or considered abandoning treatment.
Israel-based Medisafe, which focuses on adherence tech, is working with drugmakers to do just that. The company’s platform—more than just “a glorified alarm clock” reminding patients to take their meds—includes an intelligent feed that uses machine learning to personalize users' experiences, Jon Michaeli, Medisafe’s EVP of marketing and business development, said in an interview.
Through that feed, Medisafe can, for example, prompt users to call a nurse hotline and speak to someone live if “we see you missing a certain number of doses or your adherence falls below a key threshold,” Michaeli said. If the problem is financial, Medisafe can include patient assistance programs’ copay cards in the feed, too.
“It’s a combination of what we have learned works—positive reinforcement messages and many other things that improve engagement—and our pharma partners knowing what challenges patients have with that specific brand,” he said.
If a med produces side effects after the second dose, for example, Medisafe can set those expectations in the feed to let patients know their experiences are normal and that they’re not alone.
That support feature is one key distinguisher that Medisafe believes sets it apart from the other adherence solutions popping up across the digital health universe as pharma increasingly looks for ways to go "beyond the pill." And it’s also just one of the ways pharma can partner with the company, which is set to participate in Israel’s MIXiii BIOMED Conference taking place later this month in Tel Aviv.
Pharma can also leverage Medisafe’s user base of 3.7 million patients to gain a “deeper level of understanding of the patient behaviors” beyond just how adherent they are, Michaeli said. Data gathered through the platform can help drugmakers answer questions about how they stack up against the competition, under which circumstances patients switch away from their meds, and when during the week and day people are successfully taking a product.
The opportunity to cobrand the Medisafe app is out there, too, for partners who want to “participate in the user experience” by lending their messaging, color palette, product images and motivational boosts to the interfaces of patients taking a certain drug, Michaeli said.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, depression and anxiety patients are the No. 1 users of Medisafe’s platform, and the company’s umbrella branding may have something to do with that. It’s “essentially ‘get on top of your medication so you can be in control of your health,’ in a very uplifting, inspirational way,” Michaeli said. Those patients often tap Medisafe’s caregiver feature, which helps them build a support network by allowing them to add users who will be notified if they miss doses.
Drugmakers themselves are involved in the hunt for beyond-the-pill solutions that will help support depression patients, too. Last year, Takeda, maker of depression med Trintellix, launched a “Shark Tank”-style challenge among digital depression innovations, some of which also addressed ways to keep depressed patients adherent.