[Updated 3/1/17, 9:35 a.m. See below.] Prescriptions can be complicated and confusing, especially for patients taking more than one set of pills. But when people don’t properly follow their prescription plans, it can lead to deteriorating health, additional hospital visits, and potentially life-threatening episodes.
The costs are high for the healthcare industry, too. Studies have estimated that more than $100 billion in annual U.S. healthcare costs can be attributed to patients not sticking to their medication plans—and these costs are avoidable.
Medisafe is one of the companies trying to help patients better understand and follow their doctors’ orders, using a mobile app and other tools. And investors are betting new money on the startup’s approach.
Today, Medisafe announced a $14.5 million Series B funding round led by Octopus Ventures. Other investors in the round include M Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures.
That brings Medisafe’s total venture capital haul to $21.5 million. [This paragraph updated with correct funding total.]
Medisafe—which has offices in Boston and Haifa, Israel—was founded in 2012 by brothers Omri and Rotem Shor, the company’s chief executive and chief technology officer, respectively. The brothers faced a health scare that year, when their father accidentally took an extra dose of insulin, according to the company’s website.
Like many in the industry, the company’s goal is to help improve patients’ health, lower healthcare costs, and spur more collaboration between patients, their loved ones, and caregivers. (Other startups working on medication management and related healthcare issues include AdhereTech, Circadian Design, HAP Innovations, Mango Health, and PillPack.)
Medisafe developed a free mobile app that helps patients keep track of the meds they’ve taken; sends them reminders when it’s time to take a dose; sends alerts to designated loved ones if a patient forgets to take his or her meds; offers discounts on prescription refills; provides educational materials about meds and health conditions; and more.
Patients can log health measurements in the app, such as their blood pressure and weight. Medisafe also provides software to doctors and clinicians, with which they can monitor patients’ health data and make sure they’re taking their medications.
Other Medisafe products include pill bottles with wireless Internet connections. Every time a patient opens the container to take a pill, it gets automatically logged in the Medisafe app.
Medisafe says it has more than 3.5 million users, which includes both patients and caregivers. The company’s customers are insurers, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical companies, according to an e-mailed statement attributed to Jon Michaeli, the company’s executive vice president of marketing and business development. He declined to share sales figures.
Medisafe will use the new funds to add more product features, hire more staff, and open a London office, according to a press release. The company currently has 28 employees and will increase that number by about a third in the coming months, Michaeli said in the e-mailed statement. That will include hiring in sales and marketing at the Boston and London offices, and in engineering at the Haifa location.