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Problem Tech Solves

Tech Brief

Severely mentally ill (SMI), specifically treatment resistant schizophrenic, patients are often prescribed Clozaril/Clozapine. In fact, the VA released a study that stated if they could prescribe more of these patients they could save over $20K per patient. The problem? Clozarile/Clozapine require transmission of White Blood Cell (WBC) and Neutrophil (ANC) to REMS in order for patients to receive a prescription. This means SMI patients are required to take weekly blood draws and have the results successfully transmitted to REMS in order to receive their medication. There are clear barriers here for this set of complex patients. Athelas One removes these barriers by providing point-of-care diagnostics, from a simple finger prick rather than full blood draw, that can be done in clinic with results in 3 minutes. The software automates result transmission to REMS so patients can have immediate access to medication. A process that historically took up to a week and relied SMI patients to go off site for full blood draws now is done in real time. The result? A 35% average site increase in Clozaril/Clozapine prescriptions. Patients who would otherwise be unstable now have significantly easier access to medication with much less invasive diagnostics. With the recent FDA clearances this is now also in use in the patient home so they do not even have to go to clinic to perform these tasks.

Tech Differentiators

We are the only device of this kind on the market. This is an extremely complex patient population, and it was our mission to improve their livelihood with easier access to the care they need. Our superpower is the human element that goes into our engineering and leadership. The Athelas Founders created this device and application with the singular purpose of increasing access to care. Pending additional FDA clearance will widely increase access to diagnostics around the world. Operations that, today, require full draws of blood, in hard to reach markets, will be available at the point of care or in the home.


Schizophrenia is a psychiatric condition affecting about 1% of the population and incurs considerable cost for the healthcare system. A recent study estimates the total cost for the average person living with schizophrenia at $44,773 per year. $12,434 of that total comprises direct cost, namely from Emergency Department utilization and hospitalization.10 People who have not responded to two or more antipsychotics - i.e. have treatment resistant schizophrenia (TRS) - have even higher resource utilization, because they use the Emergency Department and are hospitalized more frequently. Ultimately, that leads to 3-11 times more healthcare expenditure compared to the treatment responsive population.11 If each treatment-responsive person incurs $12,434 in direct cost each year, a 3-11 fold increase means each treatment-resistant person incurs $37,304 - $136,781. Clozapine is the only antipsychotic effective for TRS.3 Several studies indicate substantial positive and negative symptom improvement on clozapine3-7, resulting in cost savings of up to $22,936 per patient per year. Adherence to the drug is similarly hindered by frequent venous blood draws for monitoring, as well as fragmentation of services across clinics, labs, and pharmacies. Clinicians again agree that a point of care testing option would alleviate those problems.12 The Athelas One is just such a point of care device. Patients’ blood is drawn via capillary fingerstick instead of a venous draw, and the device returns ANC and WBC counts using computer vision software. Since our initial rollout, sites have increased clozapine initiation (See Table 1 attached), saving a total of $15,261,920 and an average of $63,065 per facility.

Why Us