Intent Solutions has developed an innovative technology and data solution designed to improve adherence in pharmaceutical clinical trials, chronic pain management, and specialty pharmacy. Today the company is poised to take on the final frontier of medication compliance, making sure the right patient takes the right dose at the right time. Central to this ambition is the company’s portable medication dispenser aptly named, tad™, for “Take as Directed.” We talked with the CEO of Intent Solutions, Sam Zamarripa to get some insight into their plans for 2018.
Q: Before we get into the technology and solution, tell us a bit about where the idea for tad™ came from. What was the inspiration for, “Take as Directed?”
A: Several years ago, one of our friends, an advisory director of Intent Solutions™, had an automobile accident that required hip surgery. Post surgery he was given a prescription of opioids. By his own admission, he took too much of the medication and over time became addicted. Fortunately, he has been in a successful recovery for many years. As he thought about this experience, he came to believe that he would not have misused and abused the medication if he had used technology to control access–a dispenser that would dispense the medication per the regimen, and restrict access to all the pills at once. From this real life experience, tad™ was born. Inspired by the idea that we could design a dispenser that would only dispense the right medication, in right dose, to the right person.
Q: So tad™ is designed for pain management?
A: tad™ is a versatile technology and has a broad application in chronic pain management through the use of opioids, where it can reduce the misuse, abuse, and diversion of medication. However, tad™ is also a powerful technology for clinical research where it monitors and manages adherence by generating real-time compliance data of clinical trials.
There are similar adherence challenges in the specialty pharmacy sector, especially with medications that are very expensive or have stability issues. In all of its applications, and regardless of sector, tad™ is designed to reduce cost and improve outcomes even though the outcomes and cost vary across markets.
Q: Alright, so tad™ has many applications, in many markets, but how does it work? How does it dispense the right medication, in the right dose, and to the right person?
A: tad™ is one component of our solution, it is part of a platform comprised of a device (tad™), a mobile app, and a cloud-based data monitoring system. tad™ is fully portable, easy to program and connects wirelessly to our app to notify users when to take a medication.
To control the medication, tad™ limits access with a built-in biometric — a fingerprint sensor. All of its features are purposeful. The biometric insures the right person; the regimen program insures the right time and dose; and the physical design of tad™ restricts access to all of the medication at any given time.
Our cloud-based data system captures all of the real-time data from tad™, including the precise time a person took their medication. It even reports if they missed their dose. This real-time data gives clinicians and researchers the ability to monitor adherence effectively. This capability is important in chronic pain management so physicians can see how a medication is being used. With this type of information doctors are in a better position to manage a prescription regimen and give better care to their patients. Real-time data is equally important in clinical research where non-adherence can cause a clinical study to fail.
Q: So, your idea is that technology and data can improve people’s health and well being by improving adherence including chronic pain management?
A: Yes. As the practice of pain management becomes more complex and specialized, we think technology and insights from data have a substantial role to play with pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, pharmacists, and researchers. Increasingly, all of the stakeholders are working together because no single group can manage the burden of monitoring patients, safeguarding treatment decisions, and addressing potential misuse and diversion.
We all use technology in our daily lives yet there have not been any material advancements in the pill bottle for hundreds of years. In simple terms, we think the time has arrived to use technology to improve the way we take medication, the way clinicians and researchers use data, and ultimately the way we drive better outcomes and wellbeing by taking medications as directed.
Q: And what is your go-to-market strategy and approach. Do you have partnerships with pharmaceutical companies, payors, or providers?
A: We are a B2B enterprise and will sell our platform and services directly to our customers. We have entered into agreements with multiple pharmaceutical companies, providers, and payors. We think one of the most important opportunities will be collaboration with pharmaceutical companies around the development of new Schedule 2 prescription controlled substances, REMS studies, and the integration of tad™ for opioids in special markets, i.e. for children or to minimize the risk of addiction for patients new to the use of opioids.
Q: Looking ahead where do you see your platform and the evolution of tad™.
A: We think all of our markets will be different, but once they have real-time data on adherence we believe it will be hard to return to proxies for adherence such as refill rates or diaries, especially in clinical trials and chronic pain management. In some ways, the benefits of tad™ are similar to the benefits of a mobile phone — portability and data — and once a customer experiences these benefits, it will be hard to return to the old tools.
We think tad™ will follow the trend line of other IoT technologies with opportunities to integrate into larger data platforms and outcome oriented technologies. More interesting, we think tad™ will become a tool for teaching adherence, especially with young children who have rare diseases, use ADHD medication, or who have need for pain medications.