Taking medication on a schedule seems like it should be simple. You have one pill with breakfast and another with dinner, for example.
But not taking medication properly — missing doses or taking double doses — is a huge problem in healthcare, from those taking simple allergy medication to those with potentially life-saving prescriptions.
Three Seattle entrepreneurs are hoping to tackle that challenge with their new venture, Arthur Health, which is officially launching its first product, Pillsy, Tuesday.
Pillsy is a smart pill bottle that tracks when a user takes a dose of medication or a supplement. That information is then stored on a secure cloud, accessible to users through a mobile app.
“The mission is really to help people take control of their health,” Arthur Health co-founder and CEO Jeff LeBrun told GeekWire. He said the app will warn users when they’ve forgotten to take a dose and even use a chatbot to help patients find a routine that works for them.
Users can also give their doctors access to the data, so doctors can tell if a patient is having trouble sticking to their medication schedule.
“Everyone has a different experience around medications, so we had to cover a lot of different use cases,” Le Brun said.
“One thing we found from our beta testers is that a lot of people will take a pill and they will immediately forget,” he said. If this happens, users can check in the app if they’ve taken a dose, but if they do try to take a dose twice Pillsy will sound an alarm to tell them, he said.
The app also means a patient’s family members can keep track of their medication — the children or spouse of someone with dementia, for example, or parents whose children take regular medication.
LeBrun, an entrepreneur with a background in both health and hardware, said the idea for the startup came when he and other co-founders realized there was no reliable technology solution for tracking medication.
“We wanted something we would want to use, and we didn’t see that on the market,” Le Brun said.
So he teamed up with co-founders Chuks Onwuneme, an entrepreneur and former Nokia and IBM engineer, and Otto Sipe, a former Microsoft engineer, to found Arthur Health and get the idea off the ground. The startup began to work out of health hub Cambia Grove and later participated in hardware accelerator HAX and tech accelerator 500 Startups.
Through those accelerators and some angel funding, Arthur Health has raised $500,000 and the co-founders are now working with a network of 10 part-time consultants and advisers in their downtown Seattle offices.