In recent years, the process of prescribing medication has become relatively simple. With a couple of clicks, doctors can prescribe retail generic drugs through e-prescribing systems that quickly and electronically communicate information to pharmacists.
But for those prescribing specialty drugs—high cost medications used to treat complex, chronic conditions such as MS or rheumatoid arthritis—the process is manual and fragmented. Insurance companies often require prescribers of specialty drugs to compile additional information such as enrollment forms, lab tests, clinical notes, or patient consent forms, which are sent via fax to payers and pharmacists.
The lack of technology supporting the prescription and fulfillment of specialty drugs makes the process painstakingly slow, and often results in frustrating games of fax and phone tag between patients, pharmacists and providers.
Entrepreneur Zoë Barry is looking to change this. Her company, ZappRx, has developed a cloud-based platform that streamlines prescribing specialty medications and increases speed-to-therapy for the patients that rely on them.
The idea for ZappRx was born from Barry’s personal experience with the inefficiencies of prescription workflow. When her youngest brother was diagnosed with severe epilepsy, it took months to get him on the therapy that he needed. “He wound up developing a stutter, brain damage, and short term memory loss,” she remembers. “Once he got on medication, it all stopped.”
Ignited to action by her brother’s experience, Barry set to work making the process of prescribing specialty drugs more efficient. What resulted was ZappRx, a company that raised a $5.6 million Series A last year, and is poised to revolutionize the way doctors prescribe specialty drugs.
The ZappRx platform houses all specialty drugs for a given disease area, and the payer requirements associated with each drug. “It enables one-stop-shopping for the doctor,” explains Barry. “The doctor registers a patient once, and only once, and in 90 seconds can prescribe any specialty drug for that disease.”
ZappRx also connects all key stakeholders – physicians, patients, pharmacists and payers— on one digital platform. Patients can electronically sign consent forms, submit information, and track where their drug is in the fulfillment process.
To date, ZappRx has launched at one major US hospital (they have not yet disclosed which one) in one disease area. They have ambitious plans for their product to cover 100% of specialty drugs in the next 18 months.
Abby Ballou is the managing editor of MedTech Boston. She has a B.A. and M.Phil in English literature from NYU and the CUNY Graduate Center, respectively. When she isn't writing and editing for MedTech Boston, Abby enjoys reading, rock climbing, watching classic movies and listening to opera.
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