KYT Adhere: This AI-enabled digital therapeutics app is rewarding patients for taking their medications on time
How important is it to take medicines regularly for patients suffering from chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes? The answer is a no-brainer: regular consumption of medicines not only keeps the disease from progressing, but also prevents complications of the disease. Regular consumption of medicines, also known as ‘medication adherence’, has numerous benefits. The ground reality is staggeringly different! The actual proportion of patients with chronic diseases ‘adhering’ to their medication schedule languishes at very low levels.
Various attempts have been made to improve medication adherence. The latest among these, and possibly the most innovative, is, an artificial intelligence (AI)-based digital therapeutics (DTx) mobile application. This app pays the patients to regularly take their medication.
Reaping rewards for medication adherence
With KYT Adhere, patients earn money for taking their medicines on time, as per their prescribed doses. Hard cash: not vouchers, coupons, promotional codes with strings attached. KYT Adhere is the brainchild of three entrepreneurs — Dr Amit Dang, Ms Dimple Dang, and Dr Pawan Rane, and the company has just recently finished its first real-world study to prove the effect of this application.
From left to right - Dr. Amit Dang (Founder and CEO), Ms. Dimple Dang (Cofounder and CTO) and Dr. Pawan Rane (Cofounder and CMO)
“Poor medication adherence is problematic at multiple levels”, says Dr Amit Dang, CEO of KYT-Adhere. A pharmaceutical physician by training Dr Dang is also the founder and CEO of MarksMan Healthcare Communications. “It harms the patients by worsening their disease, and may lead to numerous complications. As a direct result of this, the cost of treating the disease also increases. Also, the quality of life of the patient becomes poor. As a physician with a pharmacology background, it was especially saddening for me to see how easily treatable conditions such as hypertension and diabetes were becoming uncontrollable, despite the availability of efficacious medicines. The culprit? Poor medication adherence. I had an urge to do something in this direction, and this thought was the one which made us come up with KYT Adhere”, he says.
Poor medication adherence also leads to another casualty: reduced pharma sales. “According to recent estimates, pharmaceutical companies lose around $637 billion globally every year, due to patient’s non-adherence to the treatment schedule as suggested by the prescribing doctor,” Dr Dang added. Poor medication adherence is often described as the ‘last mile’ problem, which determines the outcomes of the therapy. The simple fact that many patients do not take their medicines regularly has impacted many stakeholders — the patients, their treating doctors, and the pharma industry. KYT Adhere is a bold and innovative step towards the solution to this long-recognised issue.
KYT Adhere stands apart from other similar products by converting ‘taking medication’ from a daily boring task to a rewarding activity. “Patients often do not realise that taking medications regularly is essential to ensure that their health is maintained and disease is controlled. They often feel that regularly taking medicines is a burden upon them, not realising that not taking medicines can lead to a larger burden. With KYT Adhere, we have brought in a ‘fun’ angle in the unlikeliest of all places. With this app, you get paid if you take your medicine on time!” says Ms Dimple Dang, CTO of KYT Adhere, who is also a co-founder of MarksMan Healthcare Communications and a data scientist.
How does KYT Adhere work?
“KYT Adhere reminds you to take your medication multiple times. Before you take your medicines, you need to open the app in your smartphone and show the pill to the camera. We have integrated a smart AI protocol in KYT Adhere which instantaneously detects your pill and time-stamps it. By the time you finish consuming your medication, your profile will get credited with KYT Points, which you can redeem to hard cash, provided you have consumed at least 80 percent of your prescribed medication, within a pre-specified duration, which is usually 3 months. It is as simple as that!” says Dr Pawan Rane, CMO of KYT Adhere, who is also an ENT oncosurgeon at a Goa-based hospital.
The concept sounds cool on paper, but does the app work in real time? “Of course!” says Dr Tejas Kamat, a Goa-based diabetologist, who was a part of the first real world clinical trial with KYT Adhere. “Medication non-adherence is a very frustrating problem that every diabetologist in India faces. When Dr Amit Dang proposed this possible solution to overcome adherence, I was like ‘Why not!’. The decision to try KYT Adhere has been a welcome one for me. Within a span of three months, KYT Adhere was able to improve medication adherence among my patients who had documented poor medication adherence by nearly 23 percent, and an accompanying reduction in HbA1c by 1.2 percent. This app really works!” he says. The results of this study have been submitted to a reputed journal and are undergoing peer review currently.
Dr. Tejas Kamat, Founder, Diabetes Care Clinic, Goa
Peer review in process
While the concept is exciting, there are some concerns. For example, who pays for the patients to consume their medications? What’s in it for them? “The answer is quite simple”, says Dr Dang. “Apart from patients, who stands to gain the maximum with improvement in adherence? Firstly, the pharma industry. We are aiming for an industry-sponsored model, wherein the realisation that by spending a small amount of money, the pharma sales of the chronic illness medication can be boosted, will fuel this app almost perpetually. Secondly, hospitals partnering with KYT Adhere can attract more patients by cashing in on our USP that patients get paid for being adherent. Finally, health insurance companies also stand to make profit because if patients remain healthy it means fewer chances of hospitalization due to complications” he concludes.
KYT Adhere has already been recognised in startup platforms such as Launchpad Entrepreneurship Summit 2020, Startup Kickoff’s 2020 listing edition, and Bric Idea Expo 2020.
For more information and demo sessions on this invite-only, disease-customisable, AI-backed, prescription-based smartphone app, visit www.kyt.ai.