Louisville company makes a big move in deal with Cincinnati company

Revon Systems Inc. has reached an agreement with a Cincinnati-area pharmacy benefits management company, which will help the Louisville startup bring its health care technology platform to the market.

Revon will work with Appro-RX of Waynesville, Ohio, to use the technology it has been developing this year to provide a new kind of pharmacy benefit that uses technology to monitor medication patterns.

Revon is a digital health platform that helps patients track their chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) signs and symptoms, learn more about their condition and better communicate with health care professionals. The platform also allows health care professionals to easily view patients’ health data reported through the app or website.

Under the agreement, Appro-RX clients — mostly employers — will offer the Revon platform to their employees.

The agreement offers employers who use Appro-RX pharmacy services four main benefits, according to a news release:

  • The Revon COPD mobile app (for Android and iPhone) with the Smart Symptom Tracker;
  • The Breathe COPD Resource Kit with Bluetooth-connected pulse oximeter;
  • The Amazon Alexa Echo COPD skill, which helps patients triage their day-to-day symptoms;
  • Smart Formulary Services that combine medication adherence with Revon application use.

Revon CEO Ted Smith said in an interview that the agreement between the two companies will allow both to have access to the others’ data, creating a better relationship between employers, patients and the health care professionals involved in treating them.

He said he thinks that the two companies are the first to use technology to collect data to improve patient care in this manner. This surprises him because companies spend so much on prescription medications. Most employers pay these expenses without expecting better alignment between health care expenditures and outcomes, he said.

“This is the first of its kind, that I’m aware of, where we can get together to team up with insights and feedback to help people stay well,” he said. “Now (pharmacists) can go through and use that data. They can make a plan or benefit that actually works better for the customer.”

Originally published in Louisville Business First

Ted Smith steps down as Louisville’s chief of civic innovation; replacement named

Louisville Metro Government says two key leaders plan to leave, but the replacements have already have been named.

Mayor Greg Fischer said today that Grace Simrall, founder of iGlass Analytics and former executive director of innovation for Intel Care Innovations, is replacing Ted Smith in the role. And Theresa Reno-Weber will leave her post as the city’s chief of performance and technology, to be replaced by Daro Mott, who now is chief innovation officer for a county in Ohio.

Fischer also said at a news conference Wednesday morning that he is creating an innovation advisory council for the city, which will work from a new collaboration space called Louie Lab at 745 Main St. on Museum Row. Both Smith and Reno-Weber will serve on the council.

Fischer said “continuous improvement and innovation are bedrocks” of the city.

Ted Smith

Smith is returning to the private sector as CEO of Revon Systems LLC, a health technology company based in Crestwood that uses artificial intelligence technology in clinical trials and health care. The company is working on a SmartCOPD app, which tells users whether a flare-up is imminent, and is considering monetizing it as a prescription digital therapeutic.

“The opportunity to serve Mayor Fischer and the caring people of Louisville through the innovation leadership role was deeply rewarding, and I look forward to serving further as a citizen-scientist and health-focused entrepreneur,” Smith said in a news release. He begins his new role Sept. 1.

Smith said in an interview that Revon’s previous CEO, Dr. Jeroen Schouten, has returned to his home in Holland and will continue to be connected with the company in an advisory role. He also will help with a potential European expansion of the company.

While with the city, Smith helped create the AirLouisville program, in which asthma inhalers are given GPS devices as a way to track health data, and founded Code Louisville, a coding-skills training program for residents. He also has been heavily involved in efforts to expand high-speed internet access to the city, including working with Google Fiber.

Originally published in Louisville Business First

EXCLUSIVE: Why your next prescription could be for an app

When your doctor writes you a prescription, you go to the pharmacy. But what if you could go to the App Store?

That’s the goal for Crestwood’s Revon Systems Inc., which hopes to one-day market its Smart COPD app as a sort of prescribable “digital therapeutic” for managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

CEO Dr. Jeroen Schouten said in an interview that “there’s a lot of potential” for that revenue model — but there are also a lot of hoops to jump through first. The company will need to prove the app actually works, get approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and apply to make it reimburseable by insurance.

The SmartCOPD app works by having users input their medical information and answer basic questions on their current symptoms, such as shortness of breath. Then the app tells them whether they’re fine, should call their doctor for a second opinion or that a flare-up is imminent and they should head straight to a hospital.

Schouten originally had planned to monetize the app through partnerships with researchers from the worlds of academics and commercial pharmaceutical and medical device development. The app could match eligible patients to the partners’ clinical trials.

That’s still a possibility, but “at some stage, we would have to make the revenue model work,” he said. “Every digital health care company is looking at how to make a revenue model that works.”

But the prescription model looks promising, since it’s already has worked for other health application companies. Schouten points to WellDoc, whose prescribeable app helps doctors and patients manage Type II diabetes.

If the prescription model pans out, patients could download the free app, and get a code from their doctor to unlock prescribed add-ons — sort of like an in-app purchase.

But, again, Revon needs to make sure the app works — both in terms of user design and in actually helping people effectively manage their chronic conditions.

“You’ve got to really know the market,” Schouten said. “You’ve got to really know how it works.”

Originally published in Louisville Business First