Sempre Health, one of the companies launching in the latest batch of the Alchemist Accelerator, is looking to lower the cost for prescription medication by rewarding healthy lifestyles.
It’s a plan to gamify healthcare or incent good behavior in a way that the company’s founders liken to the “good driver discount” that conscientious drivers receive on their insurance.
In Sempre’s case, the good behavior is designed to alleviate breakage at the point of sale by cutting costs on drugs for patients who might otherwise just not buy them.
The scenario hits home for Sempre Health co-founder, Anurati Mathur. The founding data scientist at Propeller Health and the architect of an epidemiological data product at Practice Fusion, had an experience where she walked away from a prescription when she realized it would cost her $150 out of pocket.
“You do things every day that save the health system money. Every time you take your medications or go to the doctor for a physical or get a mammogram or colonoscopy – you’re being a responsible patient,” says Mathur. “What if you could use your behavior as currency? With Sempre Health, we’re creating a world in which your behavior can subsidize your expense.”
While Sempre is using a rewards system, that gives patients discounts for adhering to a treatment regime, there are other companies in the market that are just universally lowering drug prices across the board.
Companies like GoodRx and Blink Health are also aiming to lower the cost of prescription drugs, but they’re aiming to do it across the board, by giving consumers the option to comparison shop (in the case of GoodRx) or the ability to find the lowest priced drugs online and pick up the prescription at their local pharmacy (Blink).
Sempre’s approach is different, and the founder argues that it’s more compelling, because it reduces costs across the board no matter what, and it encourages better behavior from patients in the process.
The company has a 200 patient pilot underway with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and is in conversation with 21 other pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, payors and employers.
How does it work? Behavioral data from the pharmacy allows the company to see what’s been prescribed and what’s been filled. The company offers prompts if a prescription isn’t picked up in the first 7 days to two weeks.
The company routes claims through partnerships with claims adjudicators to reduce costs and gain access to every pharmacy in the U.S.
To ensure and encourage compliance with treatment regimes among patients, the company provides prompts via sms and other platforms, with a lot of the management handled by enterprise partners who work with the company’s software as a service to take advantage of the data being generated as part of a online platform with dashboards.