Every successful business or product starts by answering a fundamental human need. Granted, some needs are more urgent than others. Antibiotics? Pretty urgent. Refrigerator door ice dispensers? Not so much. Driverless cars? The jury is still out on that one.
What about a solution to the opioid crisis? Bingo. Everyone—from physicians to government leaders, from Boomers to Millennials, from employers to teachers, from EMTs to medical examiners overloaded by the sheer number of overdose victims requiring autopsy—all agree that something must be done. The numbers are old news by now: The CDC and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) report that more than 115 people die in the U.S. every day after overdosing on opioids. Research shows that roughly 21-29% of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
Something must be done, indeed. That’s the reason Intent Solutions was founded.
It’s not just the numbers that moved us. Two of our founders have a friend who struggled and recovered from opioid addiction after hip surgery. I discussed a little more detail about it in a recent interview with Crain’s Atlanta Newsletter. In addition, we knew that Georgia, our home state, has one of the highest numbers of prescription opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. But our company’s goal is more far-reaching than tackling the opioid crisis in Georgia.
Putting the control back in controlled substances
Our platform includes an automated dispensing device—tadTMfor “take as directed.” It controls prescription drug dosage and collects usage data that up to now has been unavailable—data that can prevent the misuse, abuses and diversion of opioids and other prescription drugs. Current methods for tracking prescription drug adherence rely on pharmacy refill rates, which provide an inexact picture of prescription compliance or non-compliance by patients and caregivers. Our mission at Intent Solutions is to change all that—to set a new standard for administering opioid and other prescription drugs, and to render current methods obsolete.
If you think about the evolution of the pill bottle—from a little cup, a little glass, an open vial, to plastic—the first major innovations with the pill bottle came with the Poison Prevention Packaging Act and then later with the Tylenol scare in 1982, when people died after taking Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. Within a matter of months, every pill bottle cap in America was then not only child-proof, but it was also sealed. Those innovations were two of the last big innovations in how we manage the vile itself.
At Intent Solutions, we believe that technologies like ours have a big role to play in improving adherence, and it is heartening to see the interest from the U.S. Congress, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and a range of statewide organizations in how we can be part of a broad-based solution to the problem. We’ll be reporting our progress in future blog posts.
The good news about prescription opioids is that they work. They can relieve pain in people that are suffering with chronic pain. Our device gives them a level of safety that didn’t exist before, and it gives their doctors the ability to monitor them more carefully. That, in our view, is a combination destined for success.