With Penn Medicine, Independence aims to help chronically ill patients
Philadelphia, PA – The Independence Blue Cross (Independence) Center for Health Care Innovation announced today that it will collaborate with TowerView Health (TowerView) and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Medicine) on a pilot program to help chronically ill people who have multiple prescriptions make sure they take the right medication at the right time each day.
One third to one half of all patients in the United States do not take their medication as directed, resulting in less than desirable outcomes and nearly $100 billion in avoidable hospital costs each year. Taking medication as directed is particularly difficult for people who are managing two or more chronic illnesses at the same time, like diabetes and high blood pressure.
People with health coverage from Independence Blue Cross who qualify for this study and choose to participate will be enrolled at no cost in a six month-long randomized pilot program directed by Penn Medicine researchers to evaluate if the program improves their medication adherence. The participants will be divided into two groups: a pilot group that receives help with medication adherence and a control group that receives no medication assistance.
TowerView will provide individuals in the study with five prefilled medication trays, each holding a week’s supply of medication. The tray fits inside an Internet-connected pillbox that can sense when members miss a dose of their medication and sends them reminders by phone, text, or email. For members without a cell phone, the pillbox is also equipped with lights and alarms to remind members to take their drugs. An integrated software platform notifies the Penn Medicine research coordinator when members haven’t been taking their medication over a period of time so that they can call to see if members need any additional assistance. TowerView’s services are sponsored by Independence and Penn Medicine.
“People who don’t take their medications as directed are at much higher risk for getting sicker, needing emergency room care, or being hospitalized,” said Dr. Ron Brooks, senior medical director for Clinical Services at Independence Blue Cross. “It’s a huge, serious issue and one that we must address to improve health care quality and lower costs. TowerView Health provides an innovative and simple-to-use program that we think has great potential. We’re excited about building on our investment in DreamIt Health by testing TowerView’s medication trays with a select group of our members.”
“TowerView Health has a talented, passionate founding team capable of making a big impact on patient outcomes and health care costs. They’ve executed very well against a large opportunity,” said Roy Rosin, Chief Innovation Officer for Penn Medicine. “We’ve seen strong results from similar connected health approaches based on single pill bottles, but most chronically ill patients are prescribed multiple medications. Our team is excited about the potential for TowerView’s design to increase adherence among the patients driving the majority of health care costs.”
TowerView Health was founded in 2014 by four students after their college roommate and cofounder, Nick Valilis, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia during his first week of medical school. They created TowerView to help Valilis better manage his medications and hope the same approach can help others who take multiple medications. In 2014, TowerView participated in DreamIt Health to fine-tune its business model and meet potential customers.
“We’re incredibly excited to pilot with Independence Blue Cross and Penn Medicine. We’re very thankful for the support that we’ve received throughout the DreamIt Health program and that both Penn and Independence see promise in our solution to this complex problem,” said Rahul Jain, CEO, TowerView Health. “Our goal is to provide patients with an easier way to manage multiple medications, and this pilot is the first step to achieving that goal.”
TowerView is one of 11 startup companies that participated in the 2014 DreamIt Health Philadelphia class. Independence and Penn Medicine jointly sponsor the DreamIt Health new business accelerator and will sponsor the third annual DreamIt Health program, which began accepting applications for new participants this month. DreamIt Health will select up to 10 early-stage companies from applicants from around the world in the healthcare sector, based on the strength of their teams, their market potential, and their traction to date. In addition to a financial stipend, Dreamit Health provides these promising young companies with mentoring, business contacts, and other critical resources, including access to claims and clinical data and technology the companies need to shape and implement novel solutions.
In addition, TowerView won the 2015 HIMSS Venture+ Forum pitch competition held on April 12 in Chicago. HIMSS is the largest healthcare conference in the country that brings together over 38,000 health care IT professionals from around the world. Of the companies that applied for the competition, 15 startups were chosen to pitch live in front of a health care specific judging panel and audience of venture capitalists and strategic partners.
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve 9.5 million people in 24 states and the District of Columbia, including 2.5 million in the region. For more than 75 years, we have been enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
About TowerView Health
TowerView Health is an early-stage medication adherence company founded after their cofounder was diagnosed with leukemia. They help the 1 in 3 Americans with a chronic illness manage multiple medications. TowerView’s patients receive pre-filled medication trays that insert into a connected pillbox that can sense when a patient forgets a dose and automatically sends a text or phone reminder. Unlike other smart pillboxes, they send patients pre-filled medication trays sourced from a pharmacy so patients never have to manually fill their pillbox or worry that their pillbox is filled incorrectly and work directly with nurses to target outreach for patients who are continually non-adherent. To learn more visit www.towerviewhealth.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.