HealthBeacon raises $1.1M for medication adherence-tracking needle disposal container

By Aditi Pai

Dublin-based medication adherence company HealthBeacon raised $1.13 million (1 million euros) in seed funding from the Irish government through Enterprise Ireland as well as private medical and technology angel investors.

The company’s offering is a sharps container that people who take injectable medications can use to discard their needles.

HealthBeacon cofounder Jim Joyce told MobiHealthNews that this is the second healthcare startup he has founded. He previously started up Point of Care. Both companies Joyce founded focus on moving care out of the acute hospital setting and into the community. While working on his second company, Joyce noticed that every patient that would go on chronic injectable care needed a sharps box. 

“With all the different things happening around IoT technology, around connected devices, we came up with the idea of connecting the sharps box,” Joyce said. “And we could say, instead of it just being a place to throw your needle away, could we make it intelligent, could we make it better looking, more patient-friendly?”

HealthBeacon sells primarily to payers and pharmaceutical companies who can then offer the device as part of a nursing service to patients.

“The way it works is if you go on one of these long term, highly efficacious medications, in many cases you are going to be given support around those medications,” Joyce said. “So imagine if you have multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis or Crohns disease, you’ll be entitled to a patient support program which would include, in many cases, a nurse training you up on how to use the device and generally coaching you on what to expect from the treatment. That would be already in place, and our tools just become part of that program.”

The cellular-enabled device sits in the user’s home and sends data to an online dashboard where the nursing team can view the patient’s progress. If the patient misses a dose, the clinician can send them a note reminding them to take their medication.

HealthBeacon also uses the data, deidentified and anonymized, to provide its clients with trend data on how populations are adhering to medicine and what types of interactions drive better outcomes.

So far, HealthBeacon has launched with one client in Ireland and is piloting the device with a few other companies.

HealthBeacon is also working with HealthXL and the Cleveland Clinic on a study, called Voice of the Stakeholder to get perceptions from pharmacists, nurses, and clinicians on the product. Cleveland Clinic helped HealthBeacon organize structured interviews with these stakeholders.