Philadelphia's TowerView tests its high-tech pillbox, a device that helps patients track meds
For the chronically ill, managing multiple medications can be an ongoing challenge. One-third to one-half of all U.S. patients do not take their meds as directed, jeopardizing their health and running up nearly $100 billion in annual hospital bills, according to Independence Blue Cross (IBX).
Hoping to solve that problem, TowerView Health, a Philadelphia startup, is testing its high-tech pillbox in a six-month study with Independence and Penn Medicine.
“TowerView has two brilliant engineers that have developed the pillbox technology almost entirely in-house,” explains company CEO Rahul Jain. “Our team has been working for over a year to provide patients with a pillbox that can sense when they miss a dose of their medication and send the patient and/or their caregiver an automated phone or text message reminder.”
The company was established in 2014 when co-founder Nick Valilis was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia during his first week of medical school. Later that year, TowerView participated in the DreamIt Health program to fine-tune its business model and meet potential customers.
Qualified individuals covered by IBX will be provided with pre-filled medication trays, each containing a week’s medication. The tray fits inside TowerView’s Internet-enabled pillbox. For those without cell phones, the pillbox is equipped with lights and alarms. Penn Medicine researchers will use an integrated software platform to monitor members’ compliance and call to offer additional assistance.
“Each member will participate in the pilot for six months,” says Ron Brooks, IBX senior medical director for clinical services. “The goal is to evaluate the efficacy of TowerView’s system in hopes of launching it to a larger patient population of [IBX] members next year.”
Jain also invites individuals — especially those managing five or more medications — to email the company directly.