People’s Champion finalist 2018: ECHO
Enabling you to take control of your NHS repeat prescriptions, does this free on-demand medical service deliver as your People's Champion 2018?
Start-up name: ECHO
Founders: Stephen Bourke, Sai Lakshmi
Started in: 2016
Based in: London
Business description: NHS prescription reminder, delivery and tracking app
The ECHO story:
Getting hold of medication can be a hassle.
For Stephen Bourke and Sai Lakshmi, who have taken repeat prescriptions for long-term conditions “practically their entire lives”, they found the process convoluted and stressful and wanted to find a solution that would make prescriptions painless.
The need to find a solution became more urgent when they researched into the industry and learnt that between a third and a half of all medication in the UK isn’t taken as directed – with between £5.5bn and £8.5bn wasted by people not adhering to their medication.
This issue is impacted by the difficulties in getting a repeat prescription; the harder it is, the more that people become disengaged with both their condition and their medication.
Determined to improve prescriptions, and so too medication adherence rates, Bourke and Lakshmi founded ECHO in 2016.
Capitalising on their career backgrounds to merge tech and health – Bourke previously worked at Lloyds Pharmacy while Lakshmi was an Apple exec – the duo have built a free and secure app that lets you order NHS prescriptions and get your medication delivered to your door.
For the patient the process is simple; you tell ECHO the name of your NHS GP and the repeat prescription that you need and ECHO then sorts out the prescription and delivers the medication for free via Royal Mail.
While not a prescribing service – your GP has to approve all prescription requests before the medication can be dispensed – ECHO does just about everything else. It even offers smart reminders to tell you when to take your prescription and when you’re about to run out.
Since launch in November 2016, Bourke and Lakshmi have raised £7m in Series A funding to support growth and build out their team; which now sits at a headcount of 70.
Why ECHO made our shortlist:
With the NHS and its staff under greater pressure than ever before, ECHO helps to reduce time spent on appointments and calls for urgent repeat medication. Bourke and Lakshmi believe that the cost savings associated with adherence to the 10 medications it most commonly delivers could equate to £110m per year for the NHS – making it a potentially revolutionary service.
Its patient-led approach saw it attract over 100,00 users last year while its innovative technology has won the support of government and major organisations. Earlier this year the Mayor of London awarded ECHO an ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award for medtech, while the Royal Brompton Hospital has recently joined as a partner.
Where to find out more about ECHO:
Place your People’s Champion vote below.