Monday, September 10, 2007

Disruptive Health Care Trends: Intelligent Dispensing of Meds

A key to many disruptive innovations is finding ways to simplify life for the user. In the area of health care, one of the biggest challenges is compliance - ensuring proper medications are taken on schedule, for example. RFID and many other technologies have been applied to create smart packaging solutions that can track the taking of medications with the intent of helping home users, but the compliance monitoring tools don't necessarily increase the convenience experienced by the patient. Focusing on the convenience of medical care professionals is a different matter. A medication delivery system that helps them properly dispense and track medications through automated systems could make life simpler and more convenient for these high-stress jobs.

An example of a company that is pursuing such a business model is Omnicell (Nasdaq: OMCL). They provide medication cabinets that use barcodes and other tools to automate many aspects of drug delivery in acute care facilities. The are profitable, growing, and filling real needs in the marketplace. The stock is up about 30% in the past year, and rising nicely today while the rest of the market is struggling.

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