Pharmacy Students Develop Phone App to Improve Adherence

by | Aug 17, 2018 | Entrepreneur

Medication non-adherence plagues pharmacists in all kinds of settings.

Sometimes patients don’t fully understand their instructions because they’re distracted at the pharmacy. Sometimes they forget their instructions and simply need a reminder. In some cases, the information isn’t easy to understand.

VoixRx allows patients to listen to their instructions in easy-to-understand terms. It’s a phone app that helps patients understand their medications in any of 22 languages in an effort to approve compliance. It intends to fill a gap in communication between patients and healthcare providers.

Stephanie Turner, Koffi Amegadje, and Rawlings Ebot Enow from the University of Charleston launched the idea for a business during their first year of school. They entered the West Virginia Business Competition, and the business blossomed from there.

When the students won the Thrive competition for local businesses, they knew they had something worth pursuing, so they hired developers to create an app.

“After we won that competition, we felt like we really had something,” Turner said. “We basically tried to finalize the prototype we had at that point. We never thought about not doing it once we started.”

VoixRx means voice prescription, and it provides all the important information patients need about their medication: how to take it, how to store it, as well as side effects, and why it’s important to take the medication properly.

The app is free to patients, but it must be incorporated into the users’ pharmacy in order for them to access it. The pharmacies will pay based upon when they use the app, how they use the app, and how often they use the app. The B2B business model will generate revenue from the pharmacies who purchase access.

When customers and pharmacies are interested in trying the technology, VoixRx will be free for one month, allowing customers to see how they like the capability. If pharmacies decide to continue with the app, they’ll sign a contract.

One of the hurdles VoixRx faces is the mistaken belief that it’s simply a translation service. They assume that because it’s based in West Virginia, it won’t adequately address diversity, because WV isn’t known for its diversity.

To combat that, the company is advertising on social media to promote their mission and their technology.

Additionally, the company is seeking funding to update the app and to address existing glitches in the system. The group is talking with investors about raising more money, and they are trying to fix the glitches before they develop a big push to add more pharmacies.

The company’s provisional patent will also expire soon, and they’d like to apply for a permanent patent.

The group launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them update their technology, and also to help with marketing.

Based upon their discussions with investors, they’ve decided they should consider an accelerator program to help them with coaching and direction. Their research indicates that larger investors prefer companies that have completed accelerator programs.

As for Turner, she isn’t convinced she’ll pursue a traditional career.

“Even if things don’t go our way and we have bumps in the road, we’ll keep going,” she said. “We feel like it’s worth it.”

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