SmartScripts: A new way to package and deliver prescriptions

Typically in a retail pharmacy, medications are dispensed in a bottle. If you’ve got four medications, you get four different bottles.

With the SmartScripts system, medications are produced and packaged in individual pouches based on when patients need to take them. So, if you take three meds in the morning SmartScripts collates it into one individual pouch. The times on the pouches are customized for each patient to what is optimal therapeutically and to what the patient is used to. SmartScripts then delivers those packages directly to customers.

“I worked for a couple decades in the retail sector where had two to three minutes at best to interact with a patient across the counter,” Ted Thompson, co-founder and CEO of SmartScripts said. “Everyone’s in a hurry and you just didn’t have a lot of time to access the patient and to educate them. With this new system, we feel like we’re in their hands all of the time. First and foremost, we give them that simple and intuitive product, but then we’re always accessible to them as well.”

Putting investments to good use

Last November, SmartScripts announced it had raised $2.5 million in investment funding. Rural Vitality Funds, an investment fund under the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, was SmartScripts’s lead investor. Des Moines-based venture capital fund Next Level Ventures and the Cedar Rapids-based Iowa Startup Accelerator also invested.

“We’ve added some new members to the team, particularly on the technical side,” Thompson said. “We’re in the process of rebuilding a new website and online platform and portal for patients. So we’ve added some staff members, a product manager, and some technical personnel to assist in that. And then we’ve added a bit on the sales side and an executive member.”

SmartScripts is now licensed to sell in 40 states, up from 32 when we covered them last December. Their hope is to be able to sell to all 48 lower states by the end of this calendar year.

“Every state’s got slightly different regulations and rules about how to deliver meds to residents of their state,” Thompson said. “It’s almost a full-time job just to manage the regulations in each individual state. And then to make sure that the way we deliver medications meets the most stringent requirement of any state so that we’re blanketly doing the best job possible and meeting all the regulations.”

Offering insurance

In addition to the pharmacy, SmartScripts also offers an insurance product. The insurance product is a little less straightforward as there are a lot more barriers and firewalls out there, especially with large insurance companies, Thompson said.

“We’ve pivoted a little bit with the insurance product to where we utilize it in a secondary position to give greater discounts to employers as just kind of a tack-on, an add-on piece beyond what they normally do and just deliver greater savings to self-insured or even fully-insured employer groups on the prescription side,” Thompson said.

This past January, SmartScripts insurance policy had zero participants. As of today, they are approaching 5,000 participants and have several groups signing on towards early fall. They expect to have nearly 50,000 members within their insurance policy by the end of the year.

“Quite honestly, with a lot of groups we talk to, it seems almost too good to be true. There are no charges, no fees,” Thompson said. “The only way that we receive money is if we save an employer group or a hospital system money.”

Previous coverage

SmartScripts: Automating the Pharmacy – Nov. 29, 2017