By Nancy Dahlberg / firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine being able to submit your prescription right from your doctor’s office in 10 to 15 seconds and the medicine is delivered to your office or home within a couple of hours. No extra drive and agonizing wait at the pharmacy –- or worse, the chance that you procrastinate and never get that prescription filled.
A Miami-based startup is making this scenario a reality. Its GetMyRx mobile app launches this week in Miami-Dade County. Through a secure platform, the free GetMyRx app lets users order new or existing prescriptions from local pharmacies, which provide free same-day delivery within the county. It's next planning to expand into BrowardCounty and then other cities nationwide.
The company was founded by Luis Angel (pictured here), a former pharmaceutical executive at Novartis in Europe and New York who spent the past year designing and refining the technology required to power the mobile app. GetMyRx, a team of seven, is based at the downtown Miami accelerator Venture Hive and was part of its first class.
“During the past eight weeks we have piloted our solution and received positive feedback from consumers, pharmacies and physicians. We also confirmed that there is tremendous need for this technology, and proved that our app works as intended. Our next challenge is getting the word out to consumers and educating the healthcare community about the widespread issue of ‘prescription leakage’ that affects 1 in 3 adults,” which refers to prescriptions that people never fill mostly due to the hassle factor, said Angel, GetMyRx’s CEO.
A Harvard University Study of nearly 280,000 patients found that one in three adults who receive a new prescription never even go to the pharmacy. This prescription leakage is a key contributor to medication non-adherence, which leads to $290 billion in avoidable medical spending every year, according to the nonprofit New England Healthcare Institute.
Here’s how the GetMyRx app works: Users scan their prescription and insurance card with the secure iPhone app. GetMyRx routes it to the nearest pharmacy in its network, and the pharmacy instantly confirms the drug copayment through the app, and then delivers the medication within a few hours at no additional cost. The app can be downloaded for free in the Apple App Store. An Android version of the app should be out in March, Angel said.
GetMyRx charges pharmacies a software licensing fee for accessing its proprietary cloud-based platform, which is the system is used by pharmacies day-to-day to manage all orders coming from the app, said Angel. Pharmacies use its platform to expedite processing of the prescription, send drug copay confirmation to the patient’s phone just seconds after an order is received, send refill reminders before a prescription expires and engage in two-way text communication with the patient when needed.
GetMyRX’s network so far includes seven area pharmacies, including VH Pharmacy and South Miami Pharmacy, and because the pharmacies are spread throughout the county the network covers every resident, Angel said.
"My customers love it. The system is very intuitive and it has push notificantions. ... They have really taken to it. I think it will take off like wildfire, said Marco Salgado, general manager of the South Miami Pharmacy, adding that Angel and his team solicit feedback regularly and have implimented improvements to the app.
Since its inception in December 2012, GetMyRx has invested about half a million dollars in the development of its technology and business. Angel self-funded the venture during the first six months and then closed a $600,000 seed round from two angel investors. “We are starting to generate revenue this month and currently do not plan to raise additional financing,” Angel said.
The company is continuing to build out Miami-Dade’s network, beginning an expansion into Broward and has its sights set on New York and San Francisco after that.
"Luis came into the Venture Hive with just an idea and in less than one year got funded, created an innovative business model, developed and launched a beautiful mobile app for consumers, built a back-end system for pharmacies, set up contracts with independent pharmacies and built a sales and customer support team. Talk about execution!" said Ivan Rapin-Smith, program director at Venture Hive. "He is tackling a big problem in healthcare and he is very focused on aligning objectives and delivering value to all his stakeholders, whether it’s the consumer, the pharmacist, the doctor, his investors or his team members."
Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg
Posted: Jan. 8, 2014