Start-up Corner. iRx Reminder pre-event interview for IT Martini 20 - News Details
iRxReminder in the News
Start-up Corner. iRx Reminder pre-event interview for IT Martini 20
The startup is a past IT Martini Community Choice Award winner and a part of the six DEMOs featured at the event that pits past winners of the IT Martini Community Choice Award against each other.
ITM: How did you get the idea for iRx Reminder?
Sterns: In 1999 I attended a conference on Aging and Technology at the University of Michigan. I saw a presentation on the challenges of medication adherence for older adults, a problem that now cost $290 billion dollars in unnecessary medical costs annually. I also saw a presentation on a pilot study for the Berlin Aging Study looking at individuals age 80 to 100. They gave the older adults beepers, state-of-the-art then, and had them fill out a journal on who they were with, what they were doing, and how they felt. The study had 85% compliance. The Palm Pilot was just coming out and I thought that we could try the surveying and medication reminding on a personal digital assistant. We reported on those efforts in 2005 and 2006. Today we use the smartphone. Interestingly, we get the same compliance or better.
ITM: If you had to explain what you do to a 9 year-old what would you say?
Sterns: We provide the ability for researchers to deploy a study in minutes through an app on a smartphone. No programming team, IT staff, or app store approval required. The app is programmed by the researcher from our cloud-based control center. iRxReminder supports the collection of medication adherence, mood and activity surveying, the collection of physical data, and patient education. The program connects the study participant to the researcher in real time. With FDA approval we will connect the doctor and patient together in the same way.
ITM: Name two things start-ups can learn from your story to this point?
Sterns: If people tell you it cannot be done, in our case, older adults cannot use smart phones or doctors will not use mobile devices, you are probably on the right track. You need to make sure that you complete the research required to prove you are an effective and efficient system. Change is expensive and requires effort from the organization. You have to prove over and over again that what you have is worth the effort. In our case, we continue to demonstrate success after success.
ITM: Where do you see your company in 3 years?
Sterns: We plan to have around 500 research customers at Clinical Research Organizations, Hospitals, and Universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. We also plan to have received FDA approval and be used in 300+ physicians practices by that time. If our plan is executed perfectly we will cross the $10 million revenue mark that year.
ITM: Mistakes often lead to better things - what has been the company's/your biggest & best mistake?
Sterns: We started our development on Palm and then Symbian devices. These devices were very complicated to use, lots of inconsistencies, small displays, all sorts of challenges. We needed to develop very compact and clever training programs to teach older adults to use these devices. We learned a great deal about training and how to educate our users. Those hard to use devices we chose have helped making the iPhone training and interface that much better. It is one of our key strengths today.
Editor's Note: Want to know even more about iRx Reminder? Check out their interview from IT Martini 18: Sweet Home Ohio!