Innovation

Alexa, Fill (And Pay For) My Rx

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DaVincian Rx won this year’s Alexa challenge, on the premise and promise of helping correct errors in health care and ensuring that patients pick up, take, and refill their prescriptions. Here’s how a trio of DaVincian execs explain the process and how Alexa fits in to the equation of solving prescription abandonment.

The PYMNTS Alexa Challenge is over, and DaVincian Rx has taken the 2016 prize with its prescription aid that has a number of goals that go beyond a clever use of the voice-activated technology — chiefly, ensuring that drugs get to the patients who need them, when they need them, and that those medications are taken in the right dosages, at the right time.

It’s a pretty big problem, too. Prescription abandonment and non-adherence, together, cost the health care system roughly $300 billion every year. Prescription abandonment comes in at $60 billion of that figure.

Beyond the price tag, there are real human costs in terms of overall patient health and lives put at risk.

In an interview with PYMNTS, three executives from DaVincian — CEO Ted Waz, CTO Shane Hartman and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Meredith Porter — discussed the problem-solving potential of its assistant and where a roadmap might lead.

Waz noted that the overall theme of the Rx assistant is to employ “secure messaging and an omniportal structure that facilitates the information flow between prescribers, patients and companies to relay whether health instructions are being followed and when. The information and payments functions, together, he added, also must operate in “highly regulated areas.” Waz noted that electronic personal health information in the United States — AKA HIPAA — is among the most well-known of those regulations. Information flow and security is made possible using DaVincian’s AI platform and algorithms that make it possible to both access and share information only with those who have been authorized to use it “in an absolute secure way.”

In addition to payments, the DaVincian Rx assistant allows for electronic and real-time data (read: medical information) tracking.

Waz stated that “the physician's office is the real source of truth and where the data chain starts.” The electronic prescription is forwarded over to a retail pharmacy and then, via a closed-loop HIPAA-secure messaging protocol — loops in the patient to be sure that he or she has picked up the drug according to the medical protocol. DaVincian is working with retail pharmacies and their applications to build an interface using Alexa that shows if a patient chooses not to pick up a prescription or if the patient has asked for more information — “then, we would access that information on behalf of the patient through a number of different databases.”

Hartman stated that authentication can eventually and conceivably take place across a number of options, with, for example, biometric identification, via vision or fingerprint identification.

Porter said that DaVincian has created a prototype that has led to tracking — via calendar, logging daily prescriptions and how they are being taken, and via log report conveyed across professionals and patients.

Looking forward, Waz said: “Where we go from here is unlimited.” He imagines a future in which Alexa evolves to be a companion that can make health care more accessible to all and that can make it “easier for families to look after their children or children to care for their elderly family members.”

"Alexa — help me save some lives" sounds like a pretty good endgame, don’t you think?

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