Did you know that in The Netherlands alone, approximately 1000 people die each year as a result of the incorrect medication use? It is not a secret that the application of medicines in health care entails a great deal of unsafety. In the Netherlands, approximately 65,000 people aged 18 and over are hospitalized every year due to drug-related problems. Ergobyte has developed RxReasoner, an online medication decision support tool to overcome this problem and assist professionals in making medication-related decisions. We interviewed Martha Zachariadou, product manager of Ergobyte, to get more insights on the company and its innovation.
RxReasoner has two main functions, the ‘Recommender’ and the ‘Cross-check’. The
‘Recommender’ offers a personalized medication schedule for each patient based on diagnosis, current medication and comorbidity. The ‘Cross-check’ function offers treatment validation for drug-drug and drug-disease interaction based on medication and health-specific information. The knowledge base is based on thousands of medical rules derived from scientific literature and official Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC). Thanks to its explainable, evidence-based, and legally sound results, RxReasoner supports prescribers which thereby can reduce prescribing errors and could possibly save lives.
The story behind the innovation
Dr. Athanasios Kleontas and George Nikolaidis decided to develop the most comprehensive knowledge base of medicinal products marketed in Greece. Galen Medicines, the precursor to RxReasoner, is their first product. It became very popular and received highly encouraging user feedback. The founders report: “For Ergobyte’s expanding team, the next challenge was clear: building a breakthrough decision support tool based on artificial intelligence and a comprehensive knowledge base of medicinal products.”
Ergobyte has recently partnered with Medscaler to explore the Dutch healthcare market. They decided to focus on the Dutch market because of its fast-growing start-up ecosystem and skilled, multilingual workforce. Furthermore, the Netherlands is a top english-speaking European country. RxReasoner’s English version has a significant head start; reasoning rules are up-to-date, fully documented and its UI/UX has been validated.
Success of RxReasoner
When asking about their success story, Martha explains that their traction and popularity in Greece is their success story. She mentions: “RxReasoner was first discovered by patients seeking to verify their prescriptions. Through word-of-mouth, its popularity spread among physicians really fast. Today, 16K users run 38K cross-checks monthly.” Their goal is for RxReasoner to become a decisive enabler of better treatment within many healthcare providers worldwide, within the next 5 years. They have confidence in the potential of their product to truly improve the standard of care, without disrupting existing clinical processes.
Innovating in healthcare
When asking for a valuable tip about innovating in healthcare, Martha recommends the following: “A common phrase you will hear us say at Ergobyte is “sleep on it”. When facing difficult dilemmas, we never rush into decisions until we are confident enough that we have made the right choice.” This advice generally contradicts the typical start-up practice of moving fast and being disruptive. Nevertheless, it works quite well for both Ergobyte’s team and the users, as they comment: “healthcare is all about careful planning and execution.”
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