INRange Systems: Managing Drug Therapy with an In-Home Delivery System
As Baby Boomers reach retirement age, more and more people in the U.S. will need nursing care and prescription drug therapy. But as the largest generation in history begins to require more medical care, the population of nurses to care for them is growing steadily smaller. INRange Systems has found a solution to this health care conundrum with a remote medication management device that delivers medications without the aid of a live nurse.
“The current practice is for patients to use a plastic pill box and have a home nurse make regular visits to manage the medication,” says Chris Bossi, president of INRange Systems in Altoona, PA. “But with the country facing a major shortage of nurses, INRange can better leverage the home nurses’ time so they can manage more patients.”
In-Home Help from EMMA
INRange developed the Electronic Medication Management Assistant, or EMMA, a high-tech medicine cabinet about the size of a bread maker. EMMA is installed in the patient’s home to properly manage drug therapy and aid in the prevention of drug delivery errors.
Instead of dispensing a patient’s prescription in an amber bottle, pharmacies dispense the medications in specially designed blister cards labeled with bar codes. These cards are then inserted into EMMA in much the same way a CD is inserted into a stereo. The patient’s medications can then be automatically dispensed in the right dosage at the right time. The unit, which will be commercially available to select markets later this year, will also collect data from a patient’s self-testing devices, including weight scales, blood pressure devices and blood testing equipment.
EMMA also provides patients with audible and visual reminders and communicates wirelessly (no telephone line is needed) with the pharmacist or nurse for any dosing changes or to remind them that a refill is needed. EMMA is truly the arm of the pharmacist in the patient’s home.
The Importance of Early Funding
INRange got off the ground in part because of support by Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP). BFTP provided two rounds of financing totaling $150,000.
“Ben Franklin has been a great asset for us,” Bossi says. “In addition to funding, they provided professional consulting expertise in the areas of investment finance and medical devices. They also introduced us to angel investors, some of whom elected to invest in us.” INRange currently employs 11 full-time people and plans to add 10 more in 2007.
A Welcome Addition to the Market
Considering that an estimated 218,000 people die each year because of prescription drug errors and adverse drug events, INRange will likely be a welcome addition to the drug administration process.
“Our initial markets are the Veteran’s Administration, high-risk HIV patients and the military,” says Bossi. “EMMA will not be available to the general public, outside of these selected markets, until sometime in late 2008.”
Keynotes February, 2007
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