WatchRx Smartwatch Solution to Improve Medication Adherence for Seniors and Reduce Stress for Caregivers with Virtual Care Coordination Platform to Seamlessly Connect Healthcare Stakeholders
Founder & CEO
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – October 30, 2023
\CEOCFO: Ms. Narasimhan, what is the idea behind WatchRx?
Ms. Narasimhan: We want to help seniors to take their medications on time. Typically, seniors take anywhere from 14 to 22 medications per day. Often, they get confused and forget to take medications. This causes more hospital visits and they also suffer from chronic illnesses. Our mission is to help them stay healthy.
CEOCFO: What is your approach?
Ms. Narasimhan: We accomplish this through a smart watch-
There are no apps to navigate and no complex text messages that get hidden. It is easy for them to see it on the watch and then take their medications.
CEOCFO: How does somebody start and what type of information do they need to input?
Ms. Narasimhan: We get the medications in a few ways. When the family caregivers get the medications from the pharmacy, they can do this from our portal or our caregiver app. The second way is if the physician of the patient provides us access to the EHR, we can get the medications into the system, or through the patient portal. There are multiple ways of getting medication to the system.
CEOCFO: Is this something the doctor might typically recommend?
Ms. Narasimhan: Typically, if the caregivers are looking for a solution for their parents, they would contact WatchRx and see how to enter into our platform. We also offer remote patient monitoring and chronic care management solutions through physicians to geriatric patients.
CEOCFO: How does your method differ from some of the other ways that are available?
Ms. Narasimhan: Most of them today provide a text notification on the phone. However, when the notification comes, if we do not look at it right away, it goes away, so then they have to look for the notifications that come on the phone. Seniors typically have difficulty managing those notifications and text messages. Most of them just do it once and then they are gone. We keep repeating the reminder every 3 minutes, so that they do not have to look for it. That is how we are different.
It slowly produces a behavioral change within two weeks, so the patient can look forward to their reminders to know when to take their medications. It puts them on a regular routine of taking their medications.
CEOCFO: What will they see on the watch?
Ms. Narasimhan: It will come up showing the time to take the medication. They will tap for the first medication and then the second will come and they will tap. If they miss it, then it will come again in fifteen minutes. That way we keep reminding them.
CEOCFO: On the watch, are the words big enough to read easily?
Ms. Narasimhan: We will display the image and we do not show very many letters. Suppose you have to take two tablets; we just display on the top to take two and then we show the image. At the bottom we just say the name of the medicine and that is it. They do not have to type; everything is touch or talk and no typing at all on the watch.
CEOCFO: How long might it take for a user to be comfortable enough to pay attention and not take the watch off?
Ms. Narasimhan: It is probably about two weeks and by two weeks they will be accustomed to the images.
CEOCFO: Where does cost come into play?
Ms. Narasimhan: If you bring your own watch like Apple or Pixel, there is the subscription for the platform. However, if you are going through the physician to enroll in remote patient monitoring for chronic care management, the patient does not pay for anything. What we do is if they do not have their own watch, we ship our watch to them and provide a device for monitoring their vitals, and the subscription is reimbursed by Medicare, so they do not incur any costs.
CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach over time and what have you learned as more and more people are using WatchRx?
Ms. Narasimhan: We talk to a lot of seniors and caregivers and we realize how stressed caregivers are. They tell us that every weekend they have to go home and setup a big Exell spreadsheet for the medications and put it on their refrigerators. Some of them call every time they have to take the medication. If they are at work, they have to take that 5 or 10 minutes to call the patient and tell them you need to take this medication. Therefore, there is a lot of stress for the caregivers and oftentimes we do not realize it. Also, on the weekends they have to go to the seniors’ homes and setup everything. It typically takes 24 hours per week.
I have learned that form the seniors’ point of view, they want to take their medications, but it is just that they forget. Then it becomes stressful for them and they start to worry. Therefore, it causes stress on both sides; for the seniors and the care givers. I was surprised at how many medications seniors are taking. Slowly it starts to build when they reach the age of seventy and up.
CEOCFO: How are you reaching out?
Ms. Narasimhan: I am doing B2B with physicians. Most of my marketing is through Linkedin and Facebook which is my major marketing effort to reach people. We have not gone into full-
CEOCFO: How do you reach doctors?
Ms. Narasimhan: We do this currently through introductions. I have a few physician advisors who know their friends and they introduce is. Once physicians become customers then they tell their friends. It becomes a circle of referrals and introductions. The second way is to attend conferences. It is all networking.
CEOCFO: How do you stand out at a conference?
Ms. Narasimhan: People are curious to see the watch and how it works. That has made it stand out for us. There are a lot of medication adherence solutions, but our focus has been seniors, how they will use it and what problems they have. Our solution is typically from the feedback of those people who need to use it. Oftentimes people come to our booth after looking at our website or after seeing the video on the website and they come because they are curious. The biggest surprise for them is to see the medication image with details and the voice instructions, so that really attracts them.
CEOCFO: Are you seeking funding, investment or partnerships?
Ms. Narasimhan: Yes, I am currently seeking a Seed Round of financing and also partners. I have established a few partnerships like distributors and reseller agreements, but I would definitely like more partnerships, especially with companies that can staff nurses. We also offer nurses for monitoring patients.
CEOCFO: Why is WatchRx important?
Ms. Narasimhan: Our vision is to help seniors stay healthy, and to help the caregivers reduce their stress and strain, so that is the biggest social impact I would like to see. I think our solution is very much focused on the seniors and the caregivers and everyday stress that we all have. That is why we stand out with our patented solution. It attracts people because by having the picture reminders, it slowly introduces them to change, and guides them to follow a healthy lifestyle, so it makes the overall quality of life better for seniors.
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