25 Sep

Improved Measures of Adherence: How HealthBeacon’s ICMS™ Enhances Confidence in Medication Adherence Rates

Medication Event Monitoring Systems Provide Improved Measures of Adherence: How HealthBeacon’s Injection Care Management System™ can Enhance Confidence in Adherence Rates. September 2020.
By Dr.Sharifah Sarhan, MB, BCh, BAO, Medical Science Liaison Officer & Sean Glynn, MSc, Director of HEOR

The ability to provide patients and their healthcare practitioners with individualised and real-time medication adherence data is a powerful tool in the management of chronic disease, and a key offering in our Injection Care Management System™ (ICMS). In this piece, HealthBeacon explores the different methods traditionally used to calculate medication adherence and how we offer an innovative approach for a more reliable measure.

Accurately and reliably measuring medication adherence can be challenging. There are both direct and indirect measures which can offer us insight into patient adherence rates. Direct measures, including measuring serum drug levels can be invasive and time-consuming. Therefore, it is largely indirect measures which are employed, the most common of which are Medication Possession Ratios (MPRs) and Proportion of Days Covered (PDC). These indirect measures can be calculated easily from pharmacy-based data; however, this convenience comes at the cost of reliability.

What are MPR and PDC?

Medication Possession Ratio (MPR) has been used for several decades as an indirect measure of medication adherence. MPR is a calculation of the number of days of supplied medication divided by the number of days between the first and last prescription refill. A fundamental flaw with MPR is that it can overestimate adherence; if a patient gets their prescription filled early, the number of days of supplied medication can be greater than the number of days in the time period, and hence can result in a score of greater than 100%.
The MPR’s successor is Proportion of Days Covered (PDC). PDC addresses the MPR calculation shortfall by considering the number of days supplied divided by the number of days in the refill period. In this way, the ratio can never be greater than 1, making PDC more accurate. Both MPR and PDC can be relatively easily calculated from inexpensive data acquired from pharmacy refill records, however they are not without their shortcomings.




How accurate are MPR and PDC as measures of adherence?

When it comes to mail-order and specialty pharmacy data, MPR and PDC are more reflections of an organization’s quality of shipping and logistics, than true measures of patient medication adherence. They inform us that medications have been shipped and are in the patient’s possession, but not whether they have been taken by patients or not. As such, they become financial measures passed back to manufacturers and lose their clinical focus. Further, they over-estimate adherence as they do not account for doses not taken and/or doses not taken on time. A leading Paediatric Endocrinologist told us of a patient under his care who was coming off injectable medication after almost twelve years of treatment. The patient’s mother was delighted her son was due to finish his treatment and enquired as to what she should do with the unused injections she had at home. These however were doses that the child had been scheduled to take during his treatment period. Indeed, although MPR and PDC can give us an indication of a patient’s access to and possession of medication, they do not provide us with insight into the medication taking behaviours of patients.


HealthBeacon’s Measure of Adherence

At HealthBeacon, our measure of adherence is based off real-time data, customized to both individual patients and the pharmacokinetics of each product. The HealthBeacon Smart Sharps Bin records (to the minute) each time a patient drops a used syringe/needle/auto-injector into the unit. Each drop is then reconciled with the patient’s customized dosing schedule. To calculate a Personal Adherence Score, the number of drops made into the Smart Sharps Bin within the product-specific window of time is divided by the number of scheduled drops. Using this method, HealthBeacon can provide a more clinically meaningful adherence score for any injectable medication, ranging from daily growth hormone to a bi-weekly anti-TNF inhibitor.

As part of HealthBeacon’s ICMS™, patients can self-report doses taken at times when they may not have access to their Smart Sharps Bin, such as when on vacation. Patients can self-report by calling or emailing our Customer Care Team or through the HealthBeacon Companion App. This allows us to minimize any under-estimation that may occur if patients were otherwise unable to log their medication as taken.




Clinicians and researches are recognizing devices that are classified as Medication Event Monitoring Systems (MEMS) as the new “gold standard” for tracking medication adherence, due to greater reliability and validity of the data they produce. MEMS have the capability to capture dose-to-dose medication taking behaviour and to get that data out of the patient’s home. The HealthBeacon Smart Sharps Bin does this by simply recording the disposal of the waste, requiring no additional work by the patient. Therefore, this real-time data capture, with analysis tied to product specifics and injection frequencies, provides far more accurate and insightful adherence data than traditional pharmacy refill records.


Sean Glynn, Director of HEOR, joined the HealthBeacon team three years ago with the critical role of launching HealthBeacon’s operations in the US. Sean’s background in behavioral sciences and his deep understanding of the medication adherence issue will be instrumental in furthering HealthBeacon’s mission to improve patient outcomes. Sean is based out of HealthBeacon’s Boston office.







Dr.Sharifah Sarhan joined the HealthBeacon team as a Medical Science Liaison, to facilitate clinical research and assist with Regulatory Affairs. Sharifah is a medical doctor, graduating from University College Dublin and experience across a number of medical specialities as a junior doctor. Sharifah is based out of HealthBeacon’s office in Dublin, Ireland.







About HealthBeacon

HealthBeacon is a medication adherence technology company which develops smart tools for managing medication at home. HealthBeacon’s FDA cleared smart sharps bin tracks patient injection history, provides personalized interactive reminders and safely stores used injectables. With the intervention of HealthBeacon’s Smart Sharps Technology, patients’ persistence and adherence increased by 25-30% within twelve months of initiating therapy. The HealthBeacon integrated model connects a patient’s routine and the prescribing clinician’s workflow. This technology has been adopted across thirteen countries with >300,000 injections tracked since launch in 2014, with a patient acceptance rate of 80-90%.

15 Jul

Medication Adherence to Growth Hormone Therapy (GHT) from Members of the MAGIC Foundation

Sean Glynn, M.S., is the Director of Health Economics & Outcomes Research for HealthBeacon in North America


1-in-4 Patients struggle to stay on track with medication


Staying on track with medication for chronic conditions has a myriad of challenges.  In 2019, The MAGIC Foundation, supported by HealthBeacon, heard from 508 member families on the extent to which they are able to stay on track and what gets in their way.

This white paper includes a summary of the study and findings, if you would like to learn more, please contact laura.hamilton@healthbeacon.com.

There were 508 respondents to the survey.  Females represented 42% of all respondents and almost 86% of those who completed the survey were the guardian or caregiver of a pediatric patient. Other demographics can be found below.


One-in-four patients were classified as sub-optimally adherent.  Female patients were more likely to be sub-optimally adherent than their male counterparts.  There was a significant increase in the number of sub-optimal patients after the first year of treatment from 13% to 21%.  Patients who start on a 6 dose per week schedule are significantly more likely to be sub-optimally adherent in the later years of their therapy compared to those on a 7 dose per week schedule.

When asked why patients were missing doses, the most frequent answer was “We were busy and forgot” at 36%.  Only 25% of respondents reported using some type of tool or system to stay on track and approximately 50% said they would benefit from reminder support.  Interestingly, those who said they did not need this type of support were more likely to be sub-optimally adherent.

“Even the best of families can struggle with adhering to their therapy. Frankly, I was a bit shocked by the self-reported adherence numbers from the MAGIC survey.” 

Aristides Maniatis, MD

Rocky Mountain Pediatric Endocrinology

Considering that self-reported medication adherence tends to be over-estimated and that The MAGIC Foundation member families represent a cohort with means and access to benefit from the foundation’s services, GHT medication adherence for the population at large is likely less favorable than what is reported above.  GHT patients would benefit from further support to optimize a short treatment window.  Tools and systems that will help them stay on track can play an important role in the treatment journey.


We would like to thank The MAGIC Foundation for their support of this research.  We would further like to thank Dr. Mitchell Geffner, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Dr. Aristides Maniatis, Rocky Mountain Pediatric Endocrinology, for their input, guidance and assistance.


Download Whitepaper:

Medication Adherence to Growth Hormone Therapy (GHT) from Members of the MAGIC Foundation

About HealthBeacon

HealthBeacon is a medication adherence technology company which develops smart tools for managing medication. HealthBeacon’s FDA-cleared “smart sharps bin” tracks patient injection history, provides personalized interactive reminders and safely stores used injections. With the intervention of HealthBeacon’s Smart Sharps Technology, patients’ persistence and adherence increased by 25-30% within twelve months of initiating therapy.  HealthBeacon’s integrated model connects a patient’s routine and the prescribing clinician’s workflow.  This technology has been adopted across 14 countries with >400,000 injections tracked since launch in 2014, with a patient acceptance rate of 80-90%.

For more information, visit: www.healthbeacon.com or engage with HealthBeacon on LinkedIn or Twitter.


About MAGIC Foundation

The MAGIC Foundation was incorporated in the state of Illinois and received 501(C)3 non-profit status October 29, 1989. Since its inception the Foundation has grown to include support services for adults who were also impacted by these disorders.

26 Feb

Maximising Patient Adoption with Lara Kelly


with Lara Kelly,
Head of Data Analytics, HealthBeacon

In January, we launched our adoption series, assessing the multiple considerations required to create useful technologies within the complex landscape of healthcare. This was followed by HealthBeacon CEO, Jim Joyce, reflecting on the importance of keeping technology human, making reference to the significance of simple acts, such as the inclusion of a smile. 

NextDr. Zara Kinsella Fullerton does a Q&A session with Lara Kelly, head of Data Analytics at HealthBeacon tlearn about the benefit of a data driven approach, when it comes to maximising patient adoption. 


I am the head of Data Analytics at HealthBeacon. My background is in Biomedical Engineering which I studied at Trinity College in Dublin. 

For a very long time, I thought that I wanted to be a doctor. However, as time passed, I became passionate about using the data captured from digital tools to support and improve patient care.  

like to think of the HealthBeacon as the key that unlocks the data, which enables us to make really smart decisions!  


Adoption is something that is often referenced, but the meaning can be unclear, particularly when it comes to digital health technologies. Defining adoption is a topic that has certainly led to much debate amongst the team – taking a purely data driven approach we would classify a patient as a “HealthBeacon adopter” if they consent to the service, their HealthBeacon is communicating with us (we are a connected device after all!) and the patient has continued to use the device for a period of time. But we are dealing with the human psyche after all, so it is not as straightforward as this! 

The big question we grapple with, is how long does the patient need to use the HealthBeacon for us to classify them as an adopter? It is a matter of individual patient characteristics. According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 – 254 days for a person to form a new habit – and on average, 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. ¹

As a result of this broad time range, there is no hard and fast rule on the period of time required before we can classify a patient as being a true adopter. At HealthBeacon, we use a threshold of 90 days. Some might argue we are being hard on ourselves, however, as maximising patient adoption is one of our core values, we would rather under-estimate our true adoption rates and consistently strive to improve them than reach a level of complacency. 


We completed a study to assess our adoption rates and presented our findings at the Connected Health Conference in Boston, MA in October 2019.

The key finding from an analysis of 756 devices collected over a 24-month period, was that 77% of devices were adopted. We were delighted to find that this exceeds many of the adoption rates seen in studies of consumer self-tracking technologies.² 

If you would like to find out more information about HealthBeacon’s research relating to patient adoption, please email comms@healthbeacon.com to receive a copy of the poster presented at the Connected Health Conference.


There are many factors that can impact adoption. Patient and disease related factors play a big part as well as device usability – how easy it is for someone to incorporate that technology in their daily lives.  

 As we now have 10,000 devices and patient experiences to learn from, we have formed a theory on why the HealthBeacon is so widely adopted or “USED”  

USER NEED:  Patients have to put their sharps somewhere and often are legally obliged to do so

SMART INTERVENTIONS: The system only intervenes when required

EASY: All the patient has to do is plug it in

DISCREET DESIGN: Replacing the conventional sharps bin

Designing patient-centric tools while capturing actionable data can often be difficult to achieve simultaneously. Over the last year we have spent a lot of time reviewing and introducing improvements to the patient experience – much of this is in the form of additional and smoother patient touch-points – this means we are collecting a lot more data but we must continuously ensure that the data we capture is actionable 

To help us achieve the perfect balance, we opened HB Labs which facilitates extensive collaboration between the data and product teams. Once devices have been tested in the user lab and are released for patient use, the data team constantly monitors and identify new behaviours and insights. These are fed back to the product team to ensure all learnings are incorporated in the design of future products.  

Additionally, any findings from our research relating to adoption is also integrated into this process. 


The data will keep flowing and we will keep learning and improving!  

One project that I am particularly excited about, is the use of machine learning to predict if a patient is likely to take their next dose on-time. 

Today, the HealthBeacon enables us to identify which patients forget to take their medication and intervene accordingly – this work will enable us to identify them and intervene before they have even forgotten to take their medicationThis will be our smartest intervention yet but more importantly it should improve the patient experience which ultimately is the key to successful adoption!  


When I am not at work, my three favorite things to do are exercising, cooking and travelling – in no particular orderYou may find it hard to believe, but I spent over a year researching the potential of a method to inject encapsulated stem cells into the intervertebral disc, as a technique for minimally invasive repair. I would have to feed the cells every 5 days – even though I found this fascinating, my family (who are the farthest from scientifically minded that you can think of) used to find this bizarre   


This article was written By Lara Kelly and Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella at HealthBeacon. 

Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella, has a degree in Business and Economics from Trinity College Dublin and a Medical Degree from University College Cork. She is the Medical Science Liaison at HealthBeacon.

Lara Kelly, has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Biomedical Engineering from Trinity College Dublin. She is Head of Data Analytics at HealthBeacon. 

  1. Lally. P., 2009, How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world, European Journal of Social Psychology 
  2. Kooiman, T., and Schans, C.,2018, The use of self-tracking technology for health. 1st ed.: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, p.12. 
07 Feb

Achieving Patient Adoption: Should Digital Health Tools Smile?

By Jim Joyce, CEO & Co-Founder of HealthBeacon and Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella, Medical Science Liaison for HealthBeacon

This is the second series reflecting on the adoption of healthcare technologies. In this piece, Jim Joyce asks the question – “Should Digital Health Tools Smile?”

“I gave them a smile, they gave me one back, so I gave them another”– Unknown

Should Digital Health tools smile at you?  I’m called into a packaging meeting for final sign off on the box that will deliver HealthBeacon Smart Devices to patients across the USA, in this case, it is for a partnership with one of the biggest healthcare providers in the USA. Our brilliant tech and design team have spent considerable time brainstorming the box and answering questions: Will a patient know what to do when they receive it? Is it easy to open? Easy to take the device out? Will it be intuitive to plug-in and set up? These are all critical questions that we believe we have a good handle on, but my team has one final point of debate. Should we put a smile on the inside flap of the box? For me, the answer is clear, but we paused for a moment to consider the smile. As a company, we operate globally across 20 countries and even within America the meaning of a smile may be interpreted differently across different states, context and demographics.

Our history with the question, “Should it smile?”, goes back to our earliest prototype, the way our technology works is that each time a patient uses the HealthBeacon device by disposing of their used injection into the HealthBeacon the device smiles at you through the LCD screen.

We initially included the smile because the first versions of our device needed up to 60 seconds to send the time-stamped image of your medication to our servers through a mobile network. During the transition time, many people thought the device might not be working so we introduced the smile during the transmission with the words “Well Done”. The feedback from our patients was great,  “I love how it smiles at me” and “I don’t want to disappoint my HealthBeacon, because I know it wants me to feel better”. The small smile on the screen introduced a bit of humanity to a fairly technical activity of injecting yourself subcutaneously and then disposing of your used injection into our device. Now our devices are communicating immediately, but we have kept the smile.

I was recently at a lecture hosted by the Euronext Stock Exchange, where Dermot Crowley, Deputy CEO of the hotel group, Dalata, paused for a moment to talk about the importance of guests being greeted by smiling staff at each of their hotels. He stated that the first thing he notices is whether the staff smile. It is a critical moment when a guest walks into our hotels, they may be tired from travel or disorientated and being welcomed with a smile can make all the difference.

So why the debate on whether to include a smile? What’s the counterpoint? You’re not taking something seriously and healthcare is serious. You’re not being authentic in your smile? Once a European pharmaceutical executive told me I was being “too American” and the smile might be considered condescending, “it won’t work here, we just don’t smile that much.”

I asked Dr. Zara, our Medical Science Liasion to comment on the science behind the smile:

“Smiling is something we are all familiar with; many of us smile more than 20 times a day and children often smile as much as 400 times in a 24 hour period 1 but what about the science behind these smiles? 

There has been a vast amount of research focusing on the smile, dating as far back as 1862, when French anatomist, Guillaume Duchenne described the results of his work stimulating facial muscles with electric currents and emphasised the significance of eye muscle contraction when smiling. Today, this Duchenne smile, is more commonly referred to as ‘Smizing’.3

The ability of facial expressions to impact our mood was first described by William James and Charles Darwin 4,5 and has been the subject of much research.6 Smiling has been associated with the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine with associated health benefits.

The long-term benefits of smiling are also fascinating.2 Smiling has been linked with increased lifespan in professional athletes 8 and higher levels of marital satisfaction and wellbeing.9 Furthermore, research by Hewlett Packard and Dr. Lewis found that a single smile can result in the same level of brain stimulation as consuming 2,000 bars of chocolate, or obtaining a significant amount of cash.10 

At HealthBeacon we believe we can back up the smiles, it’s part of the culture and it makes sense that we would embed our culture in our technology, communications and packaging.  We want our technology to remove pain, burden, isolation and reduce complexity. We understand that we are a small piece of a big puzzle to help our customers live happier and healthier lives. In a recent in-person survey at HealthBeacon, 90% of our staff spontaneously responded to a smile with a smile. Since smiling is clinically proven to be contagious we are hoping we will infect the last 10% of the staff.

Are we serious enough? The evidence suggests that smiling in the workplace has a direct correlation to productivity and competence, but it does have its limitation and there are times when the absence of a smile is an important message. In our new companion app, we are working on a module that will have people earn their smile, it’s early days so we don’t yet know the impact, but we will keep you posted.

So for the inside flap of the box, it’s a “Yes”. We believe the evidence is clear and it will bring a bit of humanity to the box. Sometimes it just makes sense to not overthink things and smile.



This article was written by Jim Joyce and Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella, HealthBeacon. Zara has a keen interest in digital health, particularly in the potential for disruptive technologies to enable individualised models of care, within the context of limited healthcare resources.

Jim Joyce has an MBA from University College of Dublin and BA in Economics from Fordham University. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of HealthBeacon, A Dublin Ireland based medical adherence technology company.

Jim Joyce, CEO of HealthBeacon

Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella has a degree in Business and Economics from Trinity College Dublin and a Medical Degree from University College Cork. She is the Medical Science Liaison at HealthBeacon.

Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella


If you have any thoughts about this article, please get in touch at comms@healthbeacon.com or engage with HealthBeacon on LinkedIn or Twitter. We would love to hear from you!


[1] Goodman, R., 2011, The Untapped Power of Smiling, Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/03/22/the-untapped-power-of-smiling/#1284fb7d7a67
[2] Jaffe, E., 2010, The Psychological Study of Smiling, https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/the-psychological-study-of-smiling
[3] Duchenne G.B., 1990, The mechanism of human facial expression, translation R.A. Cuthbertson, Cambridge University Press
[4] Darwin, C., 1872, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, London: J. Murray
[5] Goleman, D., 1989, A Feel Good Theory: A Smile Affects Mood https://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/18/science/a-feel-good-theory-a-smile-affects-mood.html
[6] Skibba, R., 2016, Psychologist argue about whether smiling makes cartoons funnier, Nature Journal of Science, https://www.nature.com/news/psychologists-argue-about-whether-smiling-makes-cartoons-funnier-1.20929
[7] Riggio, R., 2010, There’s Magic in Your Smile, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile
[8] Abel E. and Kruger M.,2010, Smile Intensity in Photographs Predict Longevity, Psychological Science, 21, 542–544
[9] Harker L. and Keltner D. 2001, Expressions of Positive Emotion in Women’s College Yearbook Pictures and Their Relationship to Personality and Life Outcomes Across Adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 112, 124
[10] Rickman, C., 2019, The Happiness Bible: The Definitive Guide to Sustainable Wellbeing
30 Jan

Adoption of Healthcare Technology: A Unique Dilemma

By Katie Roche and Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella, Medical Science Liaison for HealthBeacon | Illustrations by Luke Higashikawa

Companies feed our endless appetite for healthcare technologies, but are patients really using them? Read Katie Roche and Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella’s thoughts, the first of four articles reflecting on the adoption of healthcare technologies. In this piece, they explore why the rapid adoption of technology seen in other industries has lagged behind in healthcare, despite clear requirements for innovative solutions.

Introduction – Adoption of Healthcare Technology: A Unique Dilemma

At this time of the year, consumers are scrambling to obtain the latest technology. Companies feed this endless appetite for new technology by continuously promoting new versions of products year upon year. As the industry continues to capitalize on this frenzy and our lives become increasingly dependent on digital therapeutics, the extent of our choices increases exponentially. In 2008, there were 500 apps available on the Apple App Store.1 In 2018, consumers downloaded 194 billion apps and spent $101 billion in app stores.1 At the beginning of 2019, consumers had a choice of 2.2 million iOS apps and 2.6 million Android apps.1 The healthcare industry is no exception.

Technology and the Healthcare Industry

Recent years have seen an explosion in healthcare-related technologies; connected devices, wearable sensors, patches, apps and software. This sector is expected to reach $280 billion by 20212 and global healthcare spending is predicted to reach $10 trillion by 2022. 2 Patients and healthcare practitioners alike believe that technology has the potential to transform the way in which healthcare is delivered. Despite a rapid explosion in healthcare apps, developing technology for the healthcare industry involves countless additional barriers and considerations. Many healthcare providers are struggling in an under-resourced system and one would be forgiven for thinking that they would embrace every technology that promises to improve efficiency in the diagnosis and management of patients. However, there has been real resistance to processes that have been easily and rapidly adopted in other sectors. Why can’t these processes translate to healthcare?

What is Adoption?

Adoption can be described as the process of accepting, integrating and using a technology. Society has come to demand instant results and technology must continuously find innovative ways to ensure that participants remain engaged in a crowded marketplace after the initial excitement has passed. Many technologies struggle to provide the continuous utility that is required to ensure that initial uptake translates to long-term use. Technology needs to be easy to use, intuitive and aesthetic, solve a problem and in a manner that is decidedly better than a low-fi alternative solution.

Healthcare Technology Adoption Drivers and Barriers

How Can Digital Solutions Integrate into the Healthcare System?

New technologies must identify and address the needs of the end-user and all relevant stakeholders. For busy patients, carers, healthcare practitioners and insurers there must be some incentive in terms of increased quality of care, resource-saving or convenience. The technology must be financially accessible with a simple onboarding process and the ability to adapt to a wide and varied patient population. The device must be passive, require minimal use or capitalise on existing routines. Data generated by the technology must be easily understood and actionable to support patients in taking an active role in their health. As hospital systems move towards electronic health records, the data must be easily and effectively implemented into existing workflows to enable information sharing across all platforms on a real-time basis.

Data Protection in the Context of GDPR

Following the introduction of GDPR, there are significant financial penalties associated with mismanaged personal data. Patients need to trust the security of their data particularly when it relates to highly sensitive information. Data breaches can have a long term impact on the public’s trust, both at the level of an individual organisation but also in an entire industry as a whole. Companies who prioritize data security and integrity will gain consumer confidence as this becomes an increasing priority for many individuals.

Is Establishing a Credible Clinical Research Portfolio Worth it?

To survive in an industry full of highly qualified professionals and experts, healthcare technologies must withstand a continuous level of rigorous scientific and legal scrutiny. With such a significant volume of new devices arriving to market on a daily basis, it can be close to impossible to differentiate the truly beneficial technologies. Many companies have managed to present compelling and accurate clinical evidence and have reaped the financial rewards as demonstrated by some lucrative acquisitions and IPO valuations in recent years. Establishing a credible portfolio of clinical evidence presents a challenge for many emerging companies that may not have the financial resources required to clinically prove the value of their technologies.

High Risk and What Reward?

The disruptive innovation seen in the tech industries whereby a product is placed on the market almost prematurely is not acceptable when it comes to healthcare.  In a highly regulated, risk-averse, litigious industry such as healthcare, disruptive technologies may be met with a level of skepticism. Practitioners may be hesitant to recommend technologies that do not have a wide volume of clinical research and a well-structured data management platform.

How Can These Technologies Maintain Engagement?

After creating scientifically-backed, economically viable and legally compliant technology, there is still the issue of continued engagement of users. Many technologies are utilising gamification to maintain user interest over a prolonged period of time. Other devices use smartphone notifications such as text messages to engage users, but this also comes with the risk of notification fatigue and information overload. Increased interaction with technology may result in increased engagement, but for some patients, this may merely act as a reminder of their illness and have the opposite effect.

What Can We Learn About Long Term Adoption of Technology Within Healthcare?

As with other industries, following the enthusiasm, the hype and race to contribute to the growing body of tech, we anticipate the decline; the redundancy and oversupply, notification fatigue, user boredom and finally, abandonment.  This is a conversation that must be had. How do we create and refine tech that is actually helpful, engages patients long term, reduces healthcare costs, and results in improved patient outcomes? Can we learn from other industries and apply these insights to this space?



This article was written By Katie Roche and Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella, HealthBeacon. Katie and Zara have a keen interest in digital health, particularly in the potential for disruptive technologies to enable individualised models of care, within the context of limited healthcare resources.

Katie Roche has a degree in Neuroscience and has recently started a degree in Medicine at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Katie recently completed a medical internship at HealthBeacon’s Dubin office.

Katie Roche

Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella has a degree in Business and Economics from Trinity College Dublin and a Medical Degree from University College Cork. She is the Medical Science Liaison at HealthBeacon.

Dr. Zara Fullerton Kinsella

Media Contact:

If you have any thoughts about this article, please get in touch at comms@healthbeacon.com or engage with HealthBeacon on LinkedIn or Twitter. We would love to hear from you!


  1. The State of Mobile in 2019, App Annie. Available at https://www.appannie.com/en/go/state-of-mobile-2019/
  2. Deloitte 2019 Global HealthCare Outlook, Shaping the Future. Available at https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Images/infographics/lifesciences-healthcare/gx-lshc-hc-outlook-2019-infographic.pdf
21 Nov

Laura Hamilton to become CEO of North America for HealthBeacon

Laura Hamilton to become CEO of North America for HealthBeacon

Nov 21ST 2019, Dublin, Ireland and Boston Headquartered, HealthBeacon, a leading global medical adherence technology provider whose mission is to “build smart tools for managing medications” will be establishing a dedicated North American division to drive the development of its business and technology platform across the USA and Canada.

It’s FDA cleared “best in class” medical adherence tool for tracking injectable medications has already been launched in 13 countries and has tracked over 300,000 Injections in patient’s homes, globally. At the recent Connected Health Conference in Boston, HealthBeacon published peer-reviewed evidence demonstrating the ability for patients to successfully adopt their technology as a result of patient-centered design.  The platform has been designed to improve long term adherence to medication regimes and provide critical health data back to clinicians.

HealthBeacon’s Boston office can be described as just “Off Broadway” located above the CVS pharmacy on West Broadway in South Boston. Their Boston office has full business development, technical operations and customer care capabilities which are integrated into clinical systems, research organisations, and pharmaceutical patient support programs.

In her role as CEO of North America, Laura will be responsible for developing both the market and the HealthBeacon organisation across this important region and will report into Co-Founder and CEO, Jim Joyce.

I first got to know Laura over 4 years ago in her time as Director of Business Development of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) and in her capacity as President of BIBA (Boston Irish Business Association). She is a high energy, talented leader and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome her into the company at such an exciting time.Jim Joyce, CEO and Co-Founder, HealthBeacon.

Upon joining the company this week, Laura stated, “I am delighted to be joining HealthBeacon as CEO of North America, based at the US Headquarters in Boston, MA. I’ve been closely connected to the company for many years and truly admire the leadership, the team they’ve developed, as well as the early successes they’ve achieved across Europe. The business is poised for tremendous growth in North America and is creating value in the healthcare ecosystem with their world leading technology, which tracks patient adherence to injectable medications for chronic disease. I’m so looking forward to getting started and joining the team of one of Ireland’s most innovative start-ups.

MassBio President & CEO Robert Coughlin added, “The convergence between digital health and the life sciences is creating incredible opportunities to transform patient care. With Laura joining the team, I am excited to watch HealthBeacon grow in Massachusetts and beyond as it advances solutions to improve health outcomes.

Laura most recently served as Executive Vice President, US Operations for RxCelerate, an outsourced drug discovery and drug development platform company based in Cambridge UK. Prior to that role, Laura was Director of Business Development at MassBio. She is a proud three-time graduate of Northeastern University in Boston with a BSBA in Finance, Masters Degree in Innovation (MSc) and Master of Business Administration (MBA). A native of Cork, Ireland, Laura is currently the President of the Boston Irish Business Association (BIBA) and also serves on the Board of Directors at the American Heart Association – Metro Boston.

Laura Hamilton HealthBeacon’s CEO of North America

HealthBeacon Boston Office

13 Nov

The Impact of Connected Devices on Medication Adherence

Sean Glynn, M.S., is the Director of HEOR and Strategic Initiatives for HealthBeacon in North America

Zara Fullerton Kinsella, Medical Doctor, is the Medical Science Liaison for HealthBeacon

A physician recently described an interaction where a patient was ending a course of therapy due to a poor response to treatment. The patient asked, “What should I do with the leftover medication I have at home?”  The doctor replied, “I thought you said you were taking all of your medication.  Why do you have leftover medication?”

This is not an isolated event. One out of every two patients fail to take their medication as directed and have stopped treatment within a twelve-month period. For those of us familiar with the medication non-adherence problem, this is not surprising. Hippocrates was known to have said, “Keep a watch also on the faults of the patients, which often make them lie about the taking of things prescribed.”

Our generation is asking for connected devices to be a positive force for change in every aspect of health support, and adherence is no exception. The health and technology industries are making multi-billion dollar investments so that connected devices can fundamentally transform the delivery of healthcare. Technology offers a wide variety of solutions from smart packaging to robotic dispensers, the Internet of Things offers connected devices that monitor when medicine is unpackaged and even when a used needle is disposed into a smart sharps container. Mobile technology can remind and reward patients to help them stay on track with their medication and software platforms convey, synthesize and prioritize cohort data for clinicians. In addition, artificial intelligence can offer insights into big data and predict required interventions before a patient becomes symptomatic.

Getting health data from patients has challenged the industry to innovate. Our approach at HealthBeacon has been to use the Internet of Things to passively track what the patient is already doing, in this case, disposing of a used pen or syringe into a sharps container. By capturing this behavior and relaying the information to patients, caregivers and physicians, a key data point is created. This collection of data on a real-time basis can serve to increase patient engagement, lead to more informed clinical decision making and ultimately enable the early identification of patients who may benefit from interventions that focus on improving adherence.

If this patient had been in possession of an adherence monitoring device, their story would have been very different. Any missed doses of medication would have immediately been identified and shared with their healthcare provider or caregiver, enabling them to receive the support they need to maximize outcomes from their treatment.

Connected devices have the potential to identify and support those patients who need the most help with managing their medication. Given the magnitude of this group, these technologies have a transformative role to play in improving patient care and enriching the relationship between physicians, patients and caregivers.

Media enquiries: Mary Principe  | Email: events@healthbeacon.com

12 Jun
10 Oct

HealthBeacon appoints Alan Dalton, Senior Manager of Contracts and Reimbursement

HealthBeacon today announced that Alan Dalton, formerly of VHI, Ireland’s largest private health insurer, has joined the HealthBeacon team as the senior manager of contracts and reimbursement.  Alan brings expert experience in both new businesses contracting and private health insurance reimbursement.

In his time with VHI, he negotiated contracts with hospital providers and medical device companies and supported the corporate proposition strategy team in VHI. Part of his role also included managing and driving the VHI service projects within the medical division and working closely with stakeholders of product development, marketing, legal, IT and finance.

Prior to his work with VHI, Alan spent over two years in Sydney working with the Evolution Healthcare Group, a private hospital operator in Australia and New Zealand, where he worked alongside the Executive Chairman in negotiating and developing agreements with device and pharma companies to drive value for the Evolution Group.

In his role, Alan will develop and introduce reimbursement models for both existing and new markets working alongside pharmaceutical and healthcare clients.

HealthBeacon is delighted to have Alan join the team and we look forward to the expertise he brings to our clients and partners.

23 Jan

A Random Encounter for Digital Therapeutics

HealthBeacon President of Partnerships, Dave Shanahan was part of the HealthBeacon team that participated in the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco in mid-January. This event brought together biopharmaceutical industry executives and digital therapeutic innovators from all over the world, and led to an educational encounter between Dave and Rob Wright, Chief Editor of Life Science Leader online magazine.

Wright, wrote about the encounter as part of a blog series on the conference entitled “Connectivity- The Beauty of JPM and BTS”. He writes, “one of the more intriguing experiences took place at the Biotech Showcase. Grabbing a quick breakfast, I sit down at a table occupied by Dave Shanahan, president of partnerships for HealthBeacon, a medication-adherence technology company based in Dublin, Ireland. Shanahan gets me up to speed on the company’s first product, a smart sharps bin, as well as their current project, a tool to help automate medication compliance. According to Shanahan, there are over two billion cases of poor medication adherence each year, which costs patients and societies about $290 billion — annually! “The most expensive medication is the one not taken,” he notes. With the push by insurance companies and governments to provide better patient outcomes, it seems HealthBeacon has landed on some simple solutions that might help.”

Events like the JP Morgan conference bring together influential thought leaders from all over the world. Meetings of these industry leaders will help drive real world evidence of connected medicine and redefine the future of Digital Therapeutics.

Read the full article