By Jordan Savitsky
When I was a teenager and had my first Honda, I took it to my mechanic who just by listening to the car and knowing its history, could figure out the problem when the check engine light went on. Today, I have a Tesla and the car emails me and the company when there is a problem. Tesla then calls me up and lets me know how were going to fix the issue, drops off a loaner car to my location, and notifies me on the updates. We are in the age of digital instrumentation of the body and the days of a single primary care doctor will become outdated. Healthcare costs will lower because doctors will have access to a massive amount of sensory data along with knowledge about our unique DNA strands. This will lead to quicker and more accurate diagnosis’ and treatments as well as better prevention tools.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry Twersky, the CEO TimerCap LLC. Larry Twersky is a visionary and serial entrepreneur whose has three simple principles for any business he is involved in: 1) Do something good for society. 2) Have fun. 3) Make Money. Larry served as President of GoldMine® Software Corporation’s CRM and has spent his career at the leading edge of technology and even developed the first wireless CRM using the palm VII. Next, as President and the third largest shareholder of 1–800-DENTIST, the Company enjoyed increased national recognition and explosive growth utilizing the emerging technology of the web. Larry was instrumental in negotiations to purchase the brand from licensing and handled acquisitions of major competitors. He is currently the CEO of TimerCap LLC, producing safety products for the pharmacy industry to help people take medication as prescribed while keeping families safe and informed. Currently TimerCaps are available at 15,000 pharmacy locations. He has led the charge for a line of low cost connected products that update health records and can update caregivers after a single missed dose. Larry served on the Board of Directors of Oral Health America, a member of the National Periodontal Disease Coalition, and the former President of the Alumni Association of California State University, Northridge. He also is active on the California State University, Northridge Executive Advisory Board. He regularly assists students in the MBA program by teaching, tutoring and mentoring them on their final projects prior to graduation and received the volunteer of the year in 2012 from his alma mater. Larry is also a member of the National Speakers Association and has lectured on a variety of topics including Leadership, Opioid Abuse Prevention, Medication Adherence, Dentistry, Oral Health, Sleep Apnea, Motivation, Leadership, CRM, Marketing, and Call Center Excellence.
– Tell me a bit about yourself and your career. What led you to the world of senior care?
My business partner is my wife, Renee, and any business we get involved with needs to have a positive impact on society and be meaningful to us. My mom passed away at the early age of 60 and was addicted to opioids and smoking for as long as I can remember. When I was nine, my siblings and I were in charge of giving our mom her medication as my dad had to work. Back then it was Demerol shots in the tush. Not only did we get to play with needles, but we saw her experience the highs and lows of addiction. We now find ourselves as the primary caregivers for my 97-year-old mother-in-law. Keeping up with her medication was a daunting task and something we did not want our kids to worry about with us. Our Simple TimerCaps are at every CVS and Rite Aid and being used across the country as a tool in a opioid abuse prevention kit as it adds additional safety for the patient and household.
– Share a funny story about your career with my readers
My family always said I was a natural salesman and could sell anything. Early in my career, my parents visited me at work unexpectedly. It happened be the same day new furniture was being delivered to the office. As my mom sat in front of me, I had to ask her to get up from a company chair because it had been sold and the new chairs were being delivered. She loved telling the story that her son was such a great salesman he literally had sold a chair from beneath her.
– What advice would you give me as a young entrepreneur?
Fail fast, fail cheap!, Listen to the market, get it right, then replicate, replicate, replicate.
Too many people get stuck on their first idea, spend all their money and time only to find out the market wants something different. By then they are out of funding and cannot pivot to revamp their idea.
– Paint a picture of the life of a senior citizen in 10 years from now. Specifically, do you believe that emerging technology will be embraced by seniors or will they continue to by and large stay away from it?
My dad recently called me to tell me he just got a brand-new cell phone. I asked “Is it an Apple?” Dad said, “I don’t think so.” I asked, “Is it an Android?” He said, “I don’t know, it flips open!” Plus, no matter how many times I go over to his house and fix it, his VCR (yes he still has one) still blinks 12:00.
I think there will be a small percentage that does not embrace technology; however, I believe the majority will. Households will be smart and either Alexa, Siri, Cortana, or Google Assistant (should have a name by then) will be running the show. I believe voice AI’s will be prevalent throughout the environment, along with emerging lightweight and very functional smart glasses for augmented reality.
Smart glasses will provide the visual output and replace the form factor of what we now consider a mobile phone. These devices, along with other sensors for the home, health, and environment will provide the needed tools to help keep seniors independent much longer. Adding to this technology will be the prevalence of driverless cars, home delivery, tele-health. I foresee the average senior’s quality of life in 10 years will be dramatically better than other generation has ever seen.
– In my business, we say that it has nothing to do with the equipment and EVERYTHING to do with the service. But as companies like Apple and Amazon wade into healthcare, where do you see an opportunity for them to contribute to the marketplace? What aspects of senior care do you think they’ll end up disrupting?
It is just a matter of time that one of these organizations comes out with an inexpensive toilets and toothbrush spectrometers that can analyze what we have eaten based on the waste and bacteria found. All of the new tools will help guide nutrition and health and lead to faster and better diagnosing and treatments. The mobile phone, whatever form it takes, whether it becomes smart glasses, or something else, will have the sensors, identification, and capability of becoming a gateway for all digital currency.
– Talk a bit about the changes you’ve seen over your career within the healthcare space
I think the changes are very similar to what we are seeing the automobile industry. When I was a teenager and had my first Honda, I took it to my mechanic who just by listening to the car and knowing its history, could figure out the problem when the check engine light went on.
Today, I have a Tesla and the car emails me and the company when there is a problem. Tesla then calls me up and lets me know how were going to fix the issue, drops off a loaner car to my location, and notifies me on the updates.
We are in the age of digital instrumentation of the body and the days of a single primary care doctor will become outdated. Healthcare costs will lower because doctors will have access to a massive amount of sensory data along with knowledge about our unique DNA strands. This will lead to quicker and more accurate diagnosis’ and treatments as well as better prevention tools.
– Tell me about your company and your product. How have you been able to overcome the tech adoption barrier and effectively reach your target customer?
The key to initial adoption is to not change behavior, but to augment existing behavior with additional information. TimerCaps, iSort (7 day pill organizer), and iCap (bluetooth connected cap) all look very similar to products currently on the market.
TimerCaps are a stopwatch on top of a medicine bottle cap that lets you know the last time you took your medication. TimerCaps are great for knowing the last time you took your meds and deters other from stealing your medication. They also help keep the labeling and safety information on the bottle that was prescribed.
Our iSort is a Bluetooth pill box that sends alerts to your phone when you need to take your medication. It can also alert family members and loved ones if you missed a dose.
The iCap is a Bluetooth bottle cap that send alerts to your phone. These products are great for helping elders stay accountable with their meds and giving peace of mind to caregivers. It provides caregivers with the assurance that their family member is taking their medication since they have the option to check their habits using the mobile app. After a quick setup, the senior takes their medication like they normally do, and if they miss a dose or take an incorrect dose, the system provides feedback to the senior and caregivers to prompt an action.
I don’t think the tech barrier is a problem for TimerCap. Seniors do not have to be technologically savvy to use our products. They simply take their medications just like they would from any other pharmacy bottle or pill organizer. Even if they suffer from memory impairment problems, all TimerCap products are simple to use and help them keep track of when they last took their medications and when the next dose is due.
– Marketing to seniors can be challenging. What types of marketing campaigns have you found to be most effective?
The number one reason seniors go into assisted living is due to medication mismanagement. Our marketing efforts focus on reminding users that our products provide safety and independence for the senior. More safety and independence leads to lower medical costs due to non-adherence or overdoses, keeping seniors living independently as long as possible, and having a higher quality of life.
We also market to caregivers, as many people have experienced worry and medical crises with their loved ones due to medication mismanagement. Many caregivers want to find effective ways to manage their family members’ care and keep them as independent as possible but they don’t know how.
TimerCap provides them with a simple, low-cost tool that provides the peace of mind of knowing their loved one has a solution to help them adhere to their medication regiment.
Originally published at medium.com