Dawn Sheanshang, a pharmaceutical sales rep, became sick of medications one day. Despite her insider knowledge, she couldn’t handle the medication regimen of a loved one who’d recently been discharged from the hospital.
Determined to help, Sheanshang searched online for solutions but found no easy answers. Out of her frustration, MedaCheck
was born. With the help of startup acceleration Innov8 for Health
, and a partnership with Jeffrey Shepard, a self-described “serial entrepreneur with a Ph.D.,” this high-tech health startup – and its eponymous app – were born.
“More and more today, medication regimens are extremely complicated, with many different drugs and people’s changing presciriptions," Shepard says. “People are using mobile devices for a slew of different things. We wanted to target our product around medication adherence – ensuring they’re taking the right pill at the right time, in the right amount and having it set up with a system to ensure they’re actually doing it.”
Instead of simply placing a reminder on your phone, this app works with the pharmacies, utilizing frequently updated, high-resolution images of the approximately 16,000 medications catalogued by the National Library of Medicine.
When it’s time to take a medication, a user can click on the pill box to open it, then view their medications using photos and bulleted lists of pertinent details: medication name, dosage, etc. Reminders, including a phone-call reminder if a dose is missed, are also built in.
The challenges of developing such an app include the necessity of HIPAA compliance and generics that constantly change.
“The challenge is making sure that you’re not making specific claims around medication consumption,” says Shepard. “We don’t give anybody advice or share any information about any specific individual.”
The company is running a pilot of the app in November in collaboration with Cincinnati-based Kroger, with the hopes of making the app public in mid-November. Users will pay a small fee to download the app, which will be available through their pharmacy.
A web-based app as well as native apps for mobile devices is available.
By Robin Donovan