Tomer Gofer, Co-founder & CEO of Vaica tells us about solving the medication non-adherence phenomenon that has a heavy toll financially & on health outcomes.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tomer Gofer: Luckily, my family and myself are safe and well. It took an adjustment period to be able to work efficiently from home with three kids during three lockdowns, but now, after a large percentage of the population in Israel is vaccinated, and businesses are open again, we hope to get back to normal lives as soon as possible. I can say that although Covid-19 is tragic and caused a great deal of hardships and challenges, it did raise awareness around remote patient monitoring and pinpointed the need for virtual care.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Vaica.
Tomer Gofer: My passion for R&D started in the IDF when I was an R&D team head in the air force. After the army, I joined a company that designed solutions for medication distribution in hospitals as their head of R&D Hardware. While looking at the problem there is with medication distribution and adherence in hospitals, I realized that the real and more acute issue is what happens at home after you get discharged. That led three other partners and myself to establish Vaica- our vision was to solve the medication non-adherence phenomenon that has a heavy toll financially as well as on health outcomes.
Recently, with the coronavirus challenges, we understood that we should be flexible and adjust to the new reality by answering the need for vital sign remote patient monitoring as well. Only by obtaining the complete picture (medication adherence & vital sign monitoring) can we deliver real-life data that caregivers can act upon and truly help their patients while keeping them safe.
How does Vaica innovate?
Tomer Gofer: Vaica is a constantly adapting company. We want to be at the forefront of new technology, and we make sure to seek new ideas and lead this world of Remote Patient Monitoring continuously. I will give you an example- Recently, with the coronavirus challenges, we understood that we should be flexible and adjust to the new reality by answering the need for vital sign remote patient monitoring as well. Only by obtaining the complete picture (medication adherence & vital sign monitoring) can we deliver real-life data that caregivers can act upon and truly help their patients while keeping them safe. A few days ago, we published a new press release for ‘Long Covid’ kits that offer seamless monitoring for coronavirus recovering patients who suffer from the lingering effects of Covid-19. We address cardiac as well as pulmonary monitoring.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Tomer Gofer: Surprisingly, Covid-19 made the insurance companies in the US and other entities around the world realize how crucial virtual care is. This resulted in new CPT and reimbursement codes that enable new financing opportunities while keeping the patient’s interests at heart.
There were challenges in manufacturing and shipping due to the pandemic restrictions, but we were, and still are, flexible in finding creative ways to deliver on time and keep supplying systems.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Tomer Gofer: Yes. There were definitely several hard decisions we had to make over the past year, but the most important lesson we have learned is that we made those decisions transparently, together, as a company. One of the things that helped us stay united is that we added a video conference company daily meeting every morning for updates and to keep the human connection that was fragile due to us working separately from home. We added as many interactions as the situation allowed us.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Tomer Gofer: Although we are used to working with our partners from afar because we work globally, we definitely have a lot more video conference calls. Also, we clearly distributed our customer and partner accounts between our management team so that we keep closer track of our communication and availability. Upgrading our task platform was also a must in order to keep closer track of our to-do lists, even remotely.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Tomer Gofer: We chose to focus on our business development at this point to keep up with the new stream of system requests due to Covid. That decision proved itself to be the right one.
Your final thoughts?
Tomer Gofer: At Vaica, we constantly focus our efforts on staying innovative to answer current healthcare needs for patients as well as caregivers. The secret ingredient is flexibility, both physically – new work forms (meetings, remote operations) and mentally – (designing new adaptable solutions that fit current needs). Don’t be afraid to shift things up or hold on to old or convenient ideas; always strive higher, especially when it’s challenging. Stay safe!