Line Health Aims to Tackle Issue of Medication Adherence
Health Tech | One of the most recalcitrant issues surrounding patient engagement is adherence to medication, particularly when it comes to chronic conditions as well as some post-acute conditions such as infections that require antibiotic treatment. Combined with principles of behavior change, digital health interventions have shown promise to increase adherence to medication regimens. This is clearly something that both clinicians and pharmaceutical companies want to happen. We recently spoke with Diogo Ortega, the CEO of an innovative new digital health company called Line Health that is developing a connected pill dispenser to improve medication adherence.
What is Line Health?
Line Health (linehealth.com) has developed a “connected pill dispenser” to increase and track medication adherence—a problem that costs the U.S. health care system around $290 billion each year. It helps chronic patients to comply with their medication regimen, and also gives real-time insights to payers, providers, and family members.
How did you come up with the idea for Line Health?
The idea was born when my grandmother—who is almost 80 and completely independent—took one pill intended to be taken by my grandfather by accident. She ended up fine, but I realized that medication routines are increasingly complex, and that could be a threat for the independence of chronic patients. I got the chance to develop this idea during a 24-hour hackathon in Lisbon (“Appy Day BPI”), where I won not only the first prize, but also the audience prize. From there, I decided to invest in the idea and build a company.
What are the outcome measurements you are most interested in?
We want to empower all stakeholders with data they don’t have yet. For payers and providers, the adherence to medication is very important because it’s directly linked with outcomes, hospital readmissions, and health care costs. For pharmaceutical companies, there are clear advantages to not only having access to anonymized data about their patients’ adherence to treatments, but also to what co-morbidities they have as well as what kind of pills they take concomitantly.
Can you discuss what offerings you have for cardiologists or other clinicians/trainees involved in cardiovascular medicine?
Cardiovascular medicine is a top priority for us, because adherence to cheap (mostly generic) drugs can provide huge cost savings to the system, and contribute to better patient health. Our “connected pill dispenser” is suitable for patients who take multiple drugs, which is frequently the case for cardiovascular disease, and our app can also track other metrics, like blood pressure, using other types of medical devices. All of this makes it a lot easier to control the disease and to closely monitor each patient. Our first clinical pilot will be focused on stroke patients, and the main goal of the study is to reduce hospital readmission rates.
Where do you see Line Health in 1 year?
Our major goal is to create a product that has value not only for patients, but also for family members, health professionals, and all the stakeholders in the health space. I believe that in 1 year we’ll have compelling, clinically validated data, and in 5 years our product will be in the hands of patients who need it, and it will help them to be more adherent, healthy, and in control of their disease.
Anything else you’d like to share?
We recently secured an investment from Bolt, as well as some important pilots and partnerships with companies like Bayer, St Davids Healthcare, and Dell. We’re actively looking for investors that share our vision as well as locations and partners to pilot our technology. If you are interested please contact me at email@example.com.
Shiv Gaglani is an MD/MBA candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard Business School. He writes about trends in medicine and technology and has had his work published in Medgadget, The Atlantic, and Emergency Physicians Monthly.
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