In an industry where population health measures are unwieldy and vastly outdated, the initiative to improve patient care and save lives and capital is coming from startups.
Venture capital efforts are often based around identifying and addressing a need, and Rahul Jain has certainly found one when it comes to ensuring that patients stick to medication schedules. Population health funding is financially represented less than recent trends such as wearables, genetic studies, and Big Data, but still represents a significant aspect of healthcare management, one that venture capitalists have been moving to work with.
Jain’s company, TowerView health, has already attracted $2 million in funds, with their product proven to increase prescription adherence by almost 30%. TowerView’s innovative, cellular-connected pillbox allows patients to receive text messages when they miss their medications, with the options to also send messages to their healthcare professionals and family. Additionally, the boxes include trays that can be swapped out as needed. This system, though seemingly simple, nevertheless has a potent market associated with it.
Jain, recently named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list, will be seeking more capital for TowerView this upcoming spring.
Adhering to medication creates a surprisingly impactful feedback loop; patients following regular schedules are less likely to end up in hospitals, which in turn saves billions of dollars for them and their institutions. TowerView provides a simple solution to an avoidable problem, which is certainly the ideal when it comes to startup ventures.
Developments such as TowerView are part of a larger nationwide movement to modernize data and information in healthcare. As previously mentioned, Big Data is one of the top funded categories in the American healthcare system, and improving health data is a big step toward creating a more patient-centered healthcare experience that is easy to manage even for older patients.
25 million Americans 65 or older are taking at least five medications per day, meaning that TowerView’s product has the potential to save lives. And with the baby boomer generation advancing in age, this number will likely increase significantly over the next decade. Because of this, the population health industry is expected to nearly triple in the coming year.
Though population health means different things in different circles, the most common element is care management for large groups of people. Data analytics is a significant part of this, leading to companies to devote divisions to system management for health organizations.
However, with countless startups hawking their products and services, it can be difficult for them to leap the hurdle of financial support when starting out. Many fledgling companies with strong ideas fail every year simply because investors fail to take notice.
Fortunately for TowerView, they seem to have already surpassed these challenges. Dreamit, a Philadelphia-based company that invests in startups, has been highly supportive of Jain and his project, bringing him to road shows to spread his idea among potential investors.
TowerView is certainly not the only company attempting to make strides in patient care. Recently, InnovAge, a senior-care company, was purchased by a large private equity group interested in its comprehensive plan for managing patients. In the future, the group hopes to expand InnovAge beyond its origins in Denver and improve its all-inclusive care programs.
With an aging, top-heavy population and “top-of-the-line” systems that are often decades old, healthcare providers are now realizing that population health has been neglected for too long and are scrambling to meet demands. With startup companies stepping up to meet these challenges, it is exciting to see the innovations that they provide—and the much-needed boost that the industry deserves.