Interview with AdhereTech’s CEO and cofounder Josh Stein

AdhereTech's CEO and cofounder Josh Stein

In our latest interview, we “talk” with AdhereTech’s CEO and Cofounder Josh Stein, who used to be involved with a number of successful technology startups such as FreshDirect, Lot18 and PlaceVine. He has been a featured speaker at TEDMED in 2013 and 2014, Stanford Medicine X, Health 2.0, SXSW, and many others. Last year he was named one of the “People to Know for 2013” by the American Diabetes Associations’ Diabetes Forecast magazine. Josh has an MBA from Wharton and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Without further ado, here’s what he had to say…

How would you pitch your company? What’s your elevator pitch?

AdhereTech makes patented smart pill bottles to improve medication adherence and patient engagement. These bottles automatically measure if patients have taken their medication, and all data is wirelessly sent to AdhereTech’s servers where it is analyzed in real-time. If a dose is missed, AdhereTech reminds the patient via automated phone call or text message – as well as via on-bottle lights and chimes. Additionally, if the system notices prolonged non-adherence, it can solicit feedback from patients via text or phone call, asking them why the dose was missed. The patients’ responses can either be stored or routed to live case managers for immediate intervention. AdhereTech’s smart pill bottle service is ideal for specialty medications and clinical trials.

What sets you apart from competitors?

AdhereTech is taking a different approach than every other adherence solution that came before us. The flaw with other tools is that they require non-adherent patients, who already have issues managing their health, to set-up and learn complex devices. This is true whether a patient has to fill up a pill box, sync a device to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, or download and engage with an app. These are unrealistic strategies.

On the other hand, AdhereTech is the first adherence tool that it built specifically with the non-adherent patient in mind: we never ask the patient to do anything different to use our solution. AdhereTech requires zero set up, and it’s used just like a normal pill bottle. All data is collected and analyzed passively, and we only intervene if necessary. Additionally, when logistics and distribution are considered, AdhereTech is the most simple and realistic adherence solution to distribute to patients in the real world.

What’s your business model?

We charge pharma companies and CROs to use our solution. It’s free for patients.

Can you share some numbers? How many users do you have?

We can’t share numbers, but we can share our traction. Last year AdhereTech started a pilot with The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the early data is phenomenal. In Q3 2014, AdhereTech will begin working with two top-15 pharma companies, a top-10 PBM, and research institutions to use its solution for cancer, HIV, and stroke.

Where do you see the company going from here?

We are currently producing our Generation 2 smart pill bottles, which will be released in early 2015. The new Gen 2 bottles will work in the same way as our current bottles, yet they will have the overall size and look of regular pill bottles with added improvements.

Where do you see the mHealth industry going?

Pardon the cliché, but it’s undeniably the future of healthcare.

How long are we from seeing modern mHealth technologies going mainstream?

It all depends how you define mainstream. I would argue that we’ve already seen a fair amount of adoption, and it’s increasing exponentially.