Written by Robert Leitch.
Jeffrey Shepard, founder and CEO of Cincinnati, Ohio’s MedaCheck, knows it’s not always possible to prevent people from getting sick — but you can make sure they’re taking their medications after. When people don’t follow their prescription plans, they risk being readmitted to the hospital. The cost of readmission is approximately $26,000 per patient, amounting to a $365 billion problem worldwide.
Shepard started MedaCheck in 2012 after spending years as a university professor. He takes two medications daily and says it’s something he often forgets to do. While the consequences of forgetting to take his own medications are minimal, Shepard knows that for many patients that’s not the case.
“People can face life-threatening consequences if they don’t follow their prescription plans. I wanted to find a way to help these individuals take control of their medications in an easy, efficient way to improve their quality of life,” said Shepard. “But I knew it had to be a solution that would be easy for everyone to use.”
There are two ways patients can use MedaCheck. The first is an app that works on any smart device. The app uses notifications similar to text messages to prompt patients to take their medications, and patients must respond to these notifications within an hour. If they don’t, a MedaCheck representative will call to make sure the proper medications were taken. For patients who don’t own smart devices, MedaCheck has created its own tablet-like device that beeps whenever a patient needs to take their medications. If patients don’t respond to the beep within an hour, they too will receive a phone call from MedaCheck.
“Our system has proven to increase medication adherence from 43-46 percent up to more than 85 percent,” said Shepard. “This is a game changer; we’re making sure our users are taking their medications.”
MedaCheck received its first investment in the fall of 2012 from Queen City Angels, a southwest Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier. Since that time, the organization has invested a total of $1.5 million in MedaCheck, which the company used to build its software platform and hire additional talent. The company has also worked with HCDC and Cintrifuse, two other Ohio Third Frontier partners in the area.
“Both HCDC and Cintrifuse have done an excellent job connecting us with mentors,” said Shepard. “The different professionals we’ve met through both organizations have provided us with valuable business coaching. Resources like that make the world of entrepreneurship less intimidating.”
Shepard is currently working to expand MedaCheck’s reach throughout the country, starting with the Midwest. The company recently partnered with Verizon Wireless and Cardinal Health to support this expansion. In addition, Shepard plans to double the company’s employee count from 17 to 34 this year, with a focus on sales positions.
Shepard moved to Ohio from New York and says the opportunities for small business growth in the state are unparalleled.
“Cincinnati is a fantastic city and very appealing to top talent,” said Shepard. “It’s exciting to be in a place where the state supports startups. In talking with investors, one of the first conditions we always lay out is that we’re not moving away from Cincinnati. We feel confident that we can raise the funding we need right here, thanks to all the resources available to us.