We have had tremendous gains in health care over the past 50 years. Life expectancy has risen throughout most of the world. Technology has improved the delivery of health care, helped grow the pharmaceutical industry, and advanced public health research. It is pervasive in the workplace at hospitals, companies, government, and research universities.

However, technological advancement has not progressed as fast at the last mile of health care delivery -- the patient’s home.

This challenge attempts to address the issue of the last mile. The solution being proposed is a the voice active container for your diabetes medication. The prototype should have a cost of $5.

Diabetes is a patient managed medical condition. It is managed at home without the supervision of health care professionals. From the perspective of caregivers, compliance is a major issue in the management of diabetes.

The last mile has not changed in at all in my lifetime. I can remember my parents medical prescriptions in the same packaging with the same labeling as the medical prescriptions I receive today. For all the advancement we have had in health care for the past 50 years, this is one area where there has been little change.

From my own personal experience, I have had issues with compliance. I am on a simple drug regimen for conditions associated with middle age men. My initial regimen was once in the morning for one treatment and in the evening for the other treatment. I had issues remaining compliant with the evening regimen. My doctor moved it to the morning, and I have solved the compliance issue, but at a cost of decreasing the effectiveness of my treatment. The status quo should no longer be acceptable.

The Concept

  • Build a prototype for $5 container for your medication.

  • Should be able to know how many items are in the container

  • Have it understand a few simple voice commands such as,

    • “Did I take my meds today”
    • “How many pills are left"
    • “Do I need to order a refill”
    • “Have I missed any days”
  • Possibly have the container beep for reminders

Target Population

The target population is Type-II diabetes patients who are using a regular prescription drug regimen to manage their condition. It addresses the major issue of compliance by providing a simple and cheap, last mile digital health aide to assist the patient to take their medications as prescribed to effectively manage their diabetes.

Business Model

The concept is to create a voice active prototype for $5. Currently there are smart devices for your medications on the market but they are too expensive to be effective for the large global population of diabetes patients. In addition, they generally require some method to sync with your mobile phone for which the management is cumbersome and complex.

The business model is to open source the prototype. This will allow for companies and institutions to compete and innovate on the initial prototype.

Use of Funds

The Grand Prize award will be used in three areas.

The majority of the funds ($34,000) will be used for prototype development. The goal is to start with a hacker prototype which can perform all the designed functions and evolve it to the final stage of a prototype which looks like an actual product.

The second area will be for a marketing campaign ($7000) using a top down, bottom up approach.

The final area will be for taxes and overhead ($8400).

Marketing Execution

Top Down, Bottom Up approach. The goal is to inspire interest in $5 voice active prescription medicine container and to spur interest for companies and governments to commit resources to move this concept forward.

Top Down is to get meetings with CEOs of major pharmaceuticals such as Novo Nordisk and leading government officials such as the director of NIDDK to demo the $5 voice active prescription medicine container prototype.

Bottom Up is a two pronged targeted social media marketing campaign. 1) to gauge the interest on the patient need for such a product. 2) To demonstrate how to make the prototype to entrepreneurs.

Extensive use of social video will be employed to document the journey for idea concept to actual prototype product.

Why This Approach Makes Sense

Early in my career, I worked on the breakthrough public funded Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT). The research changed the way Type-I diabetes patients were treated. Today, it is still the recommended treatment for Type-I diabetes.

One of the residual outcomes from the DCCT trial was the use of devices for glucose management. Not only did the clinical trial improve the treatment for diabetes patients, it also helped introduce novel medical devices which benefited the economy.

This challenge is about betting on a idea, not a company. The goal to improve compliance among diabetes patients is too big of an ambition for any startup to be highly effective.

Based on my experience with the DCCT, I believe the best approach to this challenge is to open source the prototype and allow for companies and institutions to develop the product. This approach will have the greatest opportunity to reach large portions of Type-II diabetes patients.

I am an experienced entrepreneur. I started in online video in 1994 where there was no industry. By 1999, I co-founded my second online video startup, Blastro, and along with my co-founders, we bootstrapped the company into a successful video on demand network and completed distribution deals with Verizon, Microsoft, Hulu, Amazon, Samsung, NBC, and Roku.

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