As I walked around the massive convention center at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week in Las Vegas, I heard three words echoing in my head. These three words, "Make it practical," have become something of a litmus test for me when it comes to technology innovation.
Each year so many of the exhibits at CES dazzle and delight the 200,000 attendees, but I'm a practical techie. I want to make sure that tech innovators are developing with a sense of purpose. Augmented reality video games are impressive and get points for their "wow factor," but there is so much potential for tech innovation to improve our lives and the world around us. I find myself most impressed with the new technology that has true utility for us in our lives.
One thing that makes me happy is that I've noticed that each January at CES companies continue to build on previous innovations and find ways to use the technology in meaningful ways. A few years ago the few booths showcasing 3D printers simply created little plastic tchotchkes. In 2015, dozens of 3D printing companies were experimenting with ways these printers could revolutionize the medical industry. A handful of years ago at CES wearables were the big rage, but it took a few years to realize how these devices could make us healthier. The same is true with drones. The Internet of Everything is only impressive if it improves our environment. The technology of the future isn't just technology that has utility; it is technology that has the power to save your life.
This was the conversation I found myself engrossed in with Omri Shor, the CEO of MediSafe. Omri, an Israeli man about to relocate his Israel-based company and his family to Boston, told me about the "aha moment" he had several years ago that led him to create his medication management platform. His insulin-dependent diabetic father couldn't remember if he had taken his dose of insulin. He asked Omri if he recalled and he quickly answered, "No." His response meant that he hadn't remembered, but his father took it to mean that he hadn't injected himself yet. He went ahead and took a second life-threatening dose of insulin and an emergency situation ensued. At that moment Omri recognized there must be a better way.
I definitely related to the story Omri told me. My father is also an insulin-dependent Diabetic and like Omri's father, he is also very tech savvy. That makes it difficult to understand why these men use such a non-technical way to administer, monitor and maintain their medicine dosages. The entrepreneurial Israeli immediately got to work forming MediSafe with his brother to fix this worldwide problem.
MediSafe, which helps individuals become healthier, has become the leading global medication maintenance platform. Using a cloud-synced mobile management system, it really makes it easier for caregivers to give the support needed to help their loved ones get healthier. They have developed both iOS and Android apps for smartphones and tablets, with over 1.3 million mobile downloads to date.
The MediSafe mobile app will remind the patient when to take the medication (whether a pill capsule, liquid medicine or injection). Users can also update the app manually. The Med-Friend feature (family member or caregiver) is notified if the patient doesn't check in, so they can offer a reminder. This is a great opportunity for parents, school nurses, nursing home attendants and camp counselors to be able to monitor a patient's medication schedule. MediSafe will remind the patient to take the medcations, keep track of which pill they took and when, and then offer a reminder to refill the medication.
MediSafe's mobile-first approach involves creating personalized interventions to the major causes of non-adherence -- forgetfulness, lack of support, emotional distress, information overload, low engagement, and rising medication costs. Through its platform, the company is enabling tighter care coordination between patients, caregivers, physicians, and other providers. Just today it was announced that MediSafe has raised a $6 million Series A Round led by Pitango Venture Capital. Others participating in the round include 7wire ventures, as well as investors from previous rounds.
MediSafe will allocate the $6 million in new funding toward accelerating user growth in the U.S. market, where nearly half of Americans are prescribed at least one medication on a daily basis. The company will focus on expanding the suite of medication management solutions available, enhancing overall user experience within its mHealth apps, and accelerating market penetration, through a network of distribution, technology and data partnerships.
No matter how complex the health condition is -- from diabetes to aggressive cancer treatments -- MediSafe improves health and removes the stress of taking daily medications. It is truly an innovative technology with a real purpose. Hopefully other tech innovators will take notice and follow suit.