Entrepreneur of the Week: Andrew Thompson, Proteus Digital Health
Proteus Digital Health utilizes ingestible sensors, wearable sensor patches, and a mobile app to collect hidden data on patient health patterns and medication treatment effectiveness that can be accessed by both patients and their providers.
We spoke to CEO, President and Co-Founder Andrew Thompson about Proteus Digital Health and the opportunity they see in the 50+ market.
Longevity Network: What does Proteus Digital Health do? Can you tell us about your platform/services and how it works?
Andrew Thompson: Proteus has created a new category of therapy: Digital Medicines. Our offering includes widely used drugs that communicate when they have been taken; a wearable patch that captures physiologic response; mobile applications to support patient self-care and physician decision-making; and data analytics to serve the needs of health system managers. Digital Medicines are in commercial use in the United States. So far results from randomized clinical trials and real-world use demonstrate that patients have significantly improved outcomes using Digital Medicines (for example control of blood pressure) and that these outcomes can be sustained.
LN: What opportunity did you see that you wanted to address with the creation of Proteus Digital Health?
AT: Patients often don’t take their medicines properly – maybe only 30% of the time. Drugs do not work if you don’t take them, so patient engagement in their own care and proper use of drugs is the issue we wanted to address. We set out to create a new category of FDA-cleared ingestible sensors that can be combined with a drug and measure when it is swallowed. Our FDA-cleared wearable patch provides feedback on core physiologic metrics like activity and rest. Proteus solutions help folks living with chronic diseases track how they are doing and share that information with caregivers who can help to provide more effective therapies based on objective data.
LN: Who are your primary users? How can/does Proteus benefit the 50+ population?
AT: Proteus Digital Health has three groups of primary users that benefit from our offerings:
For patients (many of whom are 50+), Digital Medicines benefit those at high risk, such as individuals who have been on a drug for up to six months and are being considered for escalated intervention. We gather information to help them and their healthcare providers make informed healthcare decisions. It also enables patients to become more engaged with their overall health.
For healthcare professionals, Proteus Digital Medicines remove the guesswork around diagnosis and treatment by providing insight into patient behaviors and medication effectiveness. The two most important questions in ambulatory care are whether the patient took the drug and did it work. Proteus answers both.
For health care systems, Proteus Digital Medicines provide the tools needed to build efficiency and measurement into the delivery of care and the opportunity to mitigate the high costs of uncontrolled diseases through the spread of best practices and effective risk management
LN: How did you assemble your team?
AT: We hire people not pegs. Our team is full of folks with extraordinary passion for our mission, talent and willingness to try new approaches. The people at Proteus leverage healthcare and technology leadership experience across the health system, medical device, biotech, pharmaceutical, software and data analytics fields. We’ve brought engineers, scientists, marketers, operational specialists, designers, product developers and clinicians together to deliver on the promise of seamless, fully integrated Digital Medicine solutions to help people.
LN: How has Proteus Digital Health differed from what you envisioned it would be (if at all)?
AT: We set out to develop unique technology to empower consumers, leveraging the most important computer network on the planet, the smart phone in everyone’s pocket, and the most important asset in ambulatory care, which is drugs. The result is the only solution that combines ingestible, wearable, mobile and cloud computing. This enables those who deliver healthcare to shift from “on-time management” to “on-condition management”. It has taken a bit longer than we hoped, but the clinical results have far exceeded our expectations.
LN: What do you wish you had known before developing Proteus?
AT: The breadth and depth of expertise that we would need to develop in our organization to accomplish our goals is more complex than we anticipated. We must maintain active dialog with leaders across multiple industries, including healthcare, technology and finance, to engage them in our vision of digital innovation in healthcare.
LN: What most excites you about the aging and or health technology market?
AT: The thing that thrills all of us at Proteus Digital Health is when patients of all ages get the outcome they want and delight in their use of Digital Medicines; care teams show us how the data from our products helps them reduce costs and improve lives; and payers embrace the idea that patient-centered solutions can help ensure investments in Digital Medicines expand access, improve outcomes and reduce costs.
LN: What is your best piece of advice for startups who want to include or target the 50+ market?
AT: Put your own family first; be clear about your purpose and what you want to achieve for others; never compromise on anything that matters (especially for something as unimportant as short term financial reward); never be afraid.
LN: Do you have any other products in development?
AT: We do not comment on products in development.
LN: Where do you see Proteus Digital Health five years from now?
AT: We are expanding the use of Digital Medicines with a carefully selected group of health system partners in the United States and are continuing to evaluate other opportunities that align with our goals of expanding access, improving outcomes and reducing cost through helping patients better manage their conditions and empowering physicians with objective data. Five years from now we hope that many patients ask for Digital Medicines and that doctors are delighted to prescribe them.
LN: What health or wellness technology do you hope exists by the time you retire?
AT: I plan on never retiring. I am too energized by my work and I cannot imagine being fulfilled waking up without a mission.
LN: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
AT: In 1946 the NHS was founded with a compelling vision of “Healthcare for Everyone”. In 2004 when we started R&D at Proteus we realized that there was a new utility on the planet that could be used for delivery of health services: mobile computing. So, we added one word to the NHS vision. At Proteus, our compelling vision is “Healthcare for Everyone, Everywhere.”
Andrew Thompson is Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Proteus Digital Health. His vision for digital medicines is focused on expanding global access to care, dramatically increasing the value delivered by drugs and creating a more sustainable model for innovation that leverages the cell phone in everyone’s pocket.
He is also a Co-Founder and Board Member of Summit Schools, a leading Charter School organization with an acclaimed track record and unique digital platform, featured in the Davis Guggenheim movie “Waiting for Superman”.
Thompson is active in digital humanities innovation as a Member of the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources Council and with Cambridge University. He is a Co-Founder of Parker Library Online – a leading destination for digital medieval studies.
He holds master’s degrees in Engineering (Cambridge), Education (Stanford) and Business (Stanford GSB) and has a successful 25-year track record starting and building technology based healthcare companies in Silicon Valley.