Luke Neill '11
Medical student, co-developer of patient software
- By Megan Morley Thomas
UVM medical student Luke Neill '11 is working with his long-time friend, Sam Meyer, on software that will give pharmacists and other healthcare providers a way to reach patients on a device they use all of the time – their cell phones. This low-cost idea could empower patients to take charge of their health, help to avoid additional problems or potentially life-threatening complications, and reduce the public health cost of medical non-compliance, which is estimated to total about $100 to $300 billion annually in the U.S. alone.
Although smartphone and computer applications for inputting personal medication information already exist, this software allows doctors and pharmacists to set up the messages and track compliance data. Meyer is working on the programming; Neill is developing the specific functions that will be useful for providers and patients. As a service that’s free to patients, this system is meant to reach populations that might not otherwise have access to such support.
“There’s a large problem in the U.S. with medication adherence,” Neill says. “We want to address that in a way that’s cost-effective.”
Neill’s and Meyer’s HIPAA-compliant software program allows patients to enroll at the pharmacy and then begin receiving text messages that help them understand their medications and implications for their health. The messages are not simply reminders, Neill says; they are designed to monitor behavior patterns and change habits as well.
The two attended the Clinton Global Initiative University conference, which provided the networking opportunities Neill had hoped for, and he's now in contact with three groups interested in collaboration.
But perhaps the most exciting introduction came when Neill and Meyer met President Clinton and Chelsea the first evening. "Both were extremely friendly and reinforced my drive to continue on my commitment to make a positive global change," Neill says.