An AI-enabled Prescription Digital Therapeutic App to Improve Medication Adherence
KYT Adhere is an artiﬁcial intelligence-enabled digital therapeutic smartphone app, a unique ﬁrst-of-its- kind solution for the healthcare industry, which focuses on improving medication adherence among patients. This innovative app is designed to make the daily medication task an interesting activity by integrating the principles of gamiﬁcation. The app rewards patients in return for maintaining their medication adherence. These rewards range from virtual rewards, coupons, and even ﬁnancial incentives. This way, the app aims to ensure that patients not only adhere properly to their doctors’ instructions thereby improving their health and reduce any additional healthcare complication-related expenditure but also earn rewards.
A Health-Preneur in the Making
Dr. Amit Dang is the Founder & CEO of Dexium Technologies, the company whose ﬂagship product is the KYT Adhere app. He is also the Founder & CEO of MarksMan Healthcare Communications, a data science company providing HEOR, Medical Affairs, and Data Analytics services, with head ofﬁce in Hyderabad (India). Amit completed his MBBS and MD Pharmacology (gold medalist) from Goa Medical College. Initially, he started his career as an entrepreneur and has been working in the pharmaceutical space for over a decade now.
An entrepreneur by passion, he was the convener of the Indian Medical Advisors Summit (INMAS), and the Indian Patient Access Summit (iPAS). He is also the President of ISPOR Mumbai Regional Chapter, India. He along with other co-founders Ms. Dimple Dang (Data Scientist) and Dr. Pawan Rane (Head & Neck Onco- surgeon), founded KYT Adhere, a prescription Digital Therapeutics (DTx) app that helps to improve patient adherence via AI-enabled remote patient monitoring technology. He has around 50 scientiﬁc publications to his credit in various national and international journals.
The team at KYT Adhere is highly motivated – all members have a shared vision, mission, and passion to improve patient health outcomes by increasing medication adherence. Brainstorming sessions in the organization involve active participation and inputs from all team members and the decisions are always collaborative, robust, and structured. Dexium has clear-cut short-term and long-term goals, with a well-laid-down roadmap for the next decade.
Hovering under the COVID-19 Cloud
The COVID-19 pandemic can be considered a watershed moment in the history of medicine because a landmark change is being observed in daily behaviors across every sector. With the concepts of ‘social distancing’ and ‘stay at home’ gaining signiﬁcance to an extent that has never been seen in the past, it is not surprising that the healthcare sector is faced with some distinctive challenges and opportunities.
Due to the fear of contracting the virus, most patients who suffer from mild illnesses are avoiding hospital/ clinic visits and are increasingly depending on other sources for self-care. It is also observed that during the early stages of the pandemic in India, there was a decline in sales of medicines for most acute illnesses such as pain killers and medicines to treat common infections and gastrointestinal conditions. These observations suggest that patients are now looking for options that enable them to have less interaction with doctors, without compromising on the quality of consultation.
One example to illustrate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is to examine the effect of the disease on patients suffering from chronic diseases (such as diabetes, hypertension, psychiatric illnesses, etc.) in the post-COVID-19 era. Before the pandemic, the usual pattern in patients was diagnosis and follow-up. After the pandemic, while the ‘diagnosis’ part has remained more or less the same, the ‘follow-up’ part has signiﬁcantly changed. It is not surprising that not only patients, but also doctors are increasingly opting for remote patient monitoring, online consultation, and digital prescriptions. This is where digital health and digital therapeutics (DTx) has the greatest opportunity as the changing demographics state the arrival of an advanced digital era.
R & D – The Ultimate Blueprint for Success
Research and development are the bedrock of any industry based on science, and the healthcare industry is not an exception. KYT Adhere gives immense importance to research. The basic premise of any digital therapeutic application is that its efﬁcacy must be proven through well-designed trials. This is in contrast to ‘wellness apps’, which do not require any evidence as such. KYT Adhere is a digital therapeutic app, and the efﬁcacy of the app has been proven in a recently published randomized clinical trial (RCT). Patients suffering from uncomplicated type 2 diabetes and having poor medication adherence were asked to use KYT Adhere. Within 3 months, the medication adherence among these patients signiﬁcantly improved; there was a signiﬁcant lowering of Hba1c as well, implying excellent glycemic control. In comparison, similar patients who did not use KYT Adhere continued to have poor medication adherence and poor glycemic control. This study is now accepted for publication in the reputed Journal of Diabetology, after successfully completing peer review.
A Reality Check of the Indian Healthcare Sector
Indian Healthcare system is among the most inexpensive ones in the world, but at the same time, it is also among the most chaotic ones. Private healthcare facilities dominate the market in urban and semi-urban centers by their generally high-quality resources, infrastructure, and hygiene. By contrast, most of the rural healthcare delivery happens in the public sector. The rural-urban difference in healthcare access in India is appalling, with most healthcare facilities generally easily available for an urban patient, whereas often even the basic healthcare facilities of acceptable quality are not accessible for a rural patient.
Despite increased awareness in the recent past, the health insurance penetration is also not adequate in India. This results in a situation wherein most families are pushed below the poverty line if any family member suffers from a major healthcare calamity because the healthcare payments are done out-of-pocket for the uninsured patients. This situation is called ‘catastrophic payment’. This situation can be avoided or prevented by improving patient access to medication and by improving health insurance uptake.
Coming to the patients, one key problem seen worldwide, especially among patients suffering from chronic diseases, is poor adherence to treatment. It is a known fact that the majority of patients do not completely follow their doctor’s advice concerning diet, exercise, and medication intake. As a result, the healthcare condition worsens, leading to poor treatment outcomes, and increased disease complications, both of which increase the healthcare costs. This is the reason why achieving optimal medication adherence has been described as the ‘last mile problem’ in patient management. “As poor medication adherence affects all stakeholders: patients, prescribers, hospitals, pharma, insurance, and government, we wanted to somehow overcome this problem and that led us to develop the KYT Adhere app”, concludes Amit.
KYT Adhere’s USP is bringing together the concepts of regular medication reminders and gamiﬁcation, for improving treatment adherence. The AI-backed app offers tailor-made medication reminders along with integrated solutions for patient empowerment and patient education along with integrated patient empowerment and engagement solution, The app smartly tracks medication adherence through pill identiﬁcation/recognition, and by combining medication adherence with patient rewards, we can achieve overall patient well-being, that too in a fun way.
The Future Graph
With a tagline of #StayHealthyStayRewarded, the company has completed its ﬁrst clinical trial of the app in one therapeutic area. It has several trials lined up which cater to patients suffering from diseases involving multiple therapy areas including hypertension, asthma, mental health conditions, insomnia, to name a few.
KYT Adhere envisions being the best in-India one-stop solution and also intends to partner with hospital and pharmacy chains, insurance companies, the Pharma industry, and the Government to explore strategic collaborations, which result in mutual beneﬁt. The primary mode of business operation is B2B and hence it plans to create multi-modal medication adherence products and collaborations in the time to come.