Interview with mscripts’ CEO Mark Cullen

mscripts CEO Mark Cullen

Today we’re bringing you the interview with CEO of mscripts Mark Cullen, a seasoned entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in managing the development and growth of companies. As an mHealth pioneer, Mark started development of the mscripts platform in 2008 when he saw the unmet need for managing prescriptions, adherence, and health from a mobile device.

In addition to mscripts, Mark has served as President of Exeter Group, a leading information technology consulting firm; Executive Vice President and COO of Sallie Mae Solutions; and co-founder and Executive Vice President of Exeter Educational Management Solutions, an ERP system provider to leading higher education institutions around the world. Mark holds a BA in Political Economy from Williams College.

Here’s what he had to say…

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

mscripts has changed the way people communicate with their pharmacies. In 2008, I came up with the idea that you should be able to fill your prescriptions on your phone. Today, mscripts provides a comprehensive mobile pharmacy and digital patient engagement platform to national and regional chain pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, outpatient hospitals and pharmaceutical corporations. People across the United States use our mobile and web platform to refill prescriptions with their pharmacies, get information on their medications through educational tools, and set reminders to stay adherent using the digital avenue they prefer – push, text, email, web.

What sets you apart from competitors?

Real patient engagement, a powerful technology solution, and an easy to use front end. As you’ll see from the numbers below, the platform gets tremendous usage. Once a pharmacy customer enrolls in the service, they stay on it, and the outreach that the platform provides on behalf of pharmacies allows patients to very easily manage their meds, from refilling to remembering to take them. Our solution drives refills and commerce, creates back-office and labor efficiencies, and lowers returns to stock.

We do this by providing pharmacies with an innovative, easy-to-use mobile and web health management platform that is completely integrated into the pharmacy’s dispensing platform and enables direct, real-time patient engagement. mscripts’ solutions are white-labeled, allowing a branded, always-available connection that further strengthens the relationship between pharmacies and their customers. Using our digital solutions, pharmacies connect with patients via 2-way SMS text messaging, native mobile apps, tablets and web browsers – whichever the customer prefers. Moreover, patients can customize their communications and experience, resulting in more effective messaging and better adherence.

The solutions incorporate expert UI/UX design elements translating into high ratings in app stores (in excess of 4 stars) and excellent retention of patients, with less than a 2% drop-off rate. Robust analytics enable our customers to understand how and when patients respond to communications. The result is improved pharmacy and pharmaceutical sales, pharmacy cost savings, and most importantly healthier patients.

What’s your business model?

mscripts took an early leadership position in the medication management space by providing a comprehensive digital platform for pharmacies to engage with patients. Now, with a rapidly growing network of 2 million registered patients, we are delivering innovative ways for pharmaceuticals to engage those patients, and providing comprehensive healthcare solutions that address population health management with a unique focus on medication adherence.

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

As of August 2014, mscripts has over 2 million registered patients. mscripts currently sends out over 12 million refill reminders, 3 million pickup reminders, and processes refills at a rate of 5 million per year. Our rates are accelerating rapidly.

Where do you see the company going from here?

mscripts started out as a mobile pharmacy solution and we are now evolving into a digital patient engagement platform. We are focused on enhancing the patient healthcare experience and improving medication adherence by providing additional mHealth tools for patients to manage their disease states and gain greater control over their health. We are adding health feeds targeting patient education and population health management, and delivering targeted solutions designed to tie hospitals, providers, and payers into our platform.

Where do you see the mHealth industry going?

mHealth industry is going to continue to grow rapidly as more people adopt smartphones, and as hospitals and other healthcare facilities move towards complete, integrated patient care. Pharmacies will play a critical role in the future of healthcare as they take a direct role in primary care and triage through their clinic initiatives, and mobile will play a central role in that expansion. As care organizations continue to get measured on readmission rates and Star ratings, adherence and patient performance in between provider visits will become increasingly important.

Mobile applications bring ubiquity, persistence, and bi-directional communications to the health care ecosystem. We believe this is a powerful and effective combination, and those mHealth solutions that are tied into the primary flow of medical data and integrated into the continuum of care will be poised both to have a huge impact on patient health and to lower healthcare costs.

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

From a pharmacy perspective, we’re very close. People now expect their pharmacy to have a way for them to refill via text or an app, and as we’ve seen, once they start to use it, they keep doing so, because it’s so easy. Mobile phones have already transformed the way patients and providers approach fitness and tracking. There are over 100,000 health related apps in the various stores – and that number will continue to increase. Of course, getting these solutions to be a part of the daily lives of patients is the key to mainstream adoption. At mscripts, we focus on the existing relationship between the pharmacy and the patient to get patients onto mobile. The convenience the solution provides means that they stay on it and keep using it. If other mHealth solutions focus on making the lives of patients a little easier, taking friction out of their day-to-day, making it simple to remember or find information or complete tasks, I think we’ll see mHealth technologies expand into many more aspects of healthcare delivery, from monitoring to the provision of care.