The statistic that PerceptiMed CEO and co-founder Dr Alan Jacobs throws at me sounds terrible — one out of 30 pills is an incorrect drug or dosage or goes to the wrong person. It is part of the challenge to improve patient safety that’s propelled him and his co-founder/COO/wife Jenifer to start PerceptiMed and develop its medication validation technology for retail pharmacies, hospitals and nursing homes.
Jacobs said in a phone interview that he worked on the technology for two years in his garage before formally starting the company. The first device, identRx, is no slight piece of equipment: it resembles an office copier and scanner.The automated pill verification system uses a vision tool to read the manufacturer’s imprints on all sides of each pill — that includes embossed and printed on one or both sides. The company claims an error detection rate of 99.9 percent. It’s also designed to integrate with pharmacy management systems. It also developed a remote version of the system.
Jennifer said the funding would be used to add staff across engineering, sales and marketing. She added that it’s working with national retail pharmacies.
For longterm care facilities, PerceptiMed developed a smaller version of its system, called MedPass, which also includes a locking device that opens only when medications are verified and close to the appropriate patient’s RFID tag.
Another tool, ScripClip, is like a GPS for medication bags. When a prescription has been filled and verified, a ScripClip tag is scanned and attached to the bag. When customers come to pickup their meds, pharmacy staff key in the customer information into their consoles and the appropriate ScripClip tag lights up.
Alan Jacobs said the value of its technology is that people can immediately see when they’ve made a mistake through an alert on their screen. Then they can correct it.
There’s also an analytics component that can do analysis on the near misses and can drill down to understand the cause, such as a patient with a similar sounding name, drug with a similar name or a staff member that is making multiple mistakes. Jacobs likens it to a black box for airplanes.
The longterm goal for the technology is to apply it to the home health market to help seniors age in place, particularly the complexities with helping people who are on several different medications.
Update: This post has been updated from an earlier version.