In Conversation: Justin Amoyal, CEO and Co-founder, Impruvon Health
Prince William County Virginia MedTech Startup Looks Toward Bright Future
Impruvon Health’s (Impruvon) mission to build and deploy a smarter, scalable enterprise medication workflow management platform is personal for Co-founder and CEO Justin Amoyal—he tragically lost his brother in 2019 to an accidental drug overdose caused by a process that is too manual and highly susceptible to human error.
Amoyal founded Impruvon to not only save lives, but also to empower and protect heroic nurses and caregivers while derisking the medication management process for long and short-term care residential care facilities.
The company, which has partnered with the National Science Foundation and is located in Prince William County, Virginia has customers across 11 states and has been growing rapidly since its launch. The company’s string of milestones includes being awarded the Prince William County Department of Economic Development (PWCDED) IGNITE startup grant of $50,000 in September 2021.
The IGNITE program accepts grant applications from high-growth companies; applications for the 2023 grant will open in January 2023.
Given Impruvon’s recent momentum, the BioBuzz team connected with Amoyal to discuss the company’s origin story, its potentially disruptive platform and what lies ahead for this promising and exciting MedTech startup.
Justin, talk to me about your journey to founding Impruvon?
I’ve always loved inventing things and starting businesses. I started my first business at 15 selling mopeds across the DMV.
In 2019, I received the worst call of my life telling me that I lost my brother. As I was going through the aftermath of my brother’s death I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to solving the medication error problem. I wanted to stop what happened to my brother and what my family had to endure from happening to others and their families.
I launched Impruvon with my Co-founder in 2020, and we soon received backing from the National Science Foundation and went through their I-CORPS program. In that program we had to interview one hundred people within the customer segment we were targeting; to date, I have interviewed over one thousand. My brother drives my passion to solve this problem, but these interviews drive my understanding of our customer’s actual pains.
This understanding (listening to our customers) is what drove us to pivot early on from an at home solution to one tailored to the enterprise. The I-CORPS research interview approach has influenced every feature we have developed at Impruvon. We interview and do customer discovery to this day. We ask our customers about their problems and then we build and tailor our tech to solve them.
Describe Impruvon Health’s platform’s scope and its UX experience for nurses, caregivers and administrators.
One of the big things we learned during customer discovery is that to avoid errors with medication management in an enterprise setting you have to control and manage the process from beginning to end and equip the team members involved in each of the steps. That means from the time the meds are delivered, to when they’re administered, to when records are input into an organization’s Electronic Medication Administration Records (EMAR) or Electronic Health Records (EHR) system.
That’s where we excel.
We are not an EMAR or EHR. We integrate and work with them. We are not a pharmacy, but we partner with them. Long -and short-term care residential organizations do not have to change any of their existing systems to work with us. We help them connect and optimize.
These residential organizations tend to have complicated EMAR/EHR systems that have a million features making them very difficult to train, learn, and utilize, especially for nursing staff that are overwhelmed with competing tasks on a daily basis. Impruvon optimizes the process by equipping each team member with role-specific tools to automate the most manual, costly and error-prone portions of their jobs.
For example, nurses primarily utilize our mobile app because they’re constantly on the move whereas our web app is more suited to an administrator because they’re typically at their desktop accomplishing the tasks our platform assists with. Administrators and nurses see and use different interfaces that are tailored to their responsibilities. We go very deep on customizing application roles to drill into the most important aspects of their respective jobs and roles.
Nurses need to receive mobile notifications, for example, as they are constantly putting out fires in these environments. They’re not in front of their computers or a medical cart when someone needs to get a hold of them; we give them one click access to the data they need. For administrators we have a different interface that allows them to see across the entire organization in real-time to stay connected to all staff and clients.
The simpler and more customized the interface, the better care we can enable. This is our motto—simple interfaces, complicated tech to make them work.
What specific pain points does your platform alleviate for administrators?
For administrators our platform helps eliminate liabilities, lacking awareness, and missed reimbursement. Administrators are connected through our platform and rather than finding out after the fact of a compliance error or a mistake that can turn into an error. They are alerted in real-time so they can intervene and ideally limit the consequence.Rather than their staff relying on memory for regulatory and medication compliance, our app serves as a guide and error-prevention mechanism, ultimately eliminating liabilities for these administrators.
When it comes to medication management many of these agencies/facilities are providing reimbursable services that they either don’t recognize are reimbursable or don’t have the technology to efficiently track. Our platform simplifies this process, enabling tracking and exports via API to an EHR we are integrated with or a formatted file to be submitted for reimbursement.
How does your company’s platform help patients and residents at long – and short-term care residential programs?
The Impruvon Health platform is adaptable based on the agency type. For example, at a skilled nursing facility, residents are not as independent and our platform is focused on the nursing staff and administrators. On the other hand, for independent living and supported living organizations, residents are encouraged to be independent and our platform can really help in that regard.
Our platform helps everyone involved, including residents and even their loved ones. We want to enable our customers to be as independent as they are able. We have amazing customers that support amazing neurodiverse individuals where minor improvements in independence can have dramatic impacts on one’s life. We take this extremely seriously.
We have neurodiverse team members that help tailor our interfaces so they are best suited to the neurodiverse population and we just completed a study with the Frist Center for Autism Innovation & College Autism Network focused on gamifying these interfaces. 18 year old individuals get enrolled in supported living programs and without tech like the Impruvon Health platform, they are reliant on their caregiver for the rest of their lives for daily living tasks such as taking their medications properly. By tailoring our interfaces and listening to our customers we can provide them with a tool that is enjoyable to use and aligns with their preferred way of learning.
What is the integration process like for organizations that want to use your platform?
We learned during customer discovery that like most organizations, those we sell to hate change. Thus, we make adoption and implementation as easy as possible.
We have partnered with industry-leading EHRs like PointClickCare and Core EHR Solutions. These integrations streamline implementation and adoption as the data can flow bi-directionally from the existing systems it lives in to Impruvon and back.
We also are integrated with QS/1, a leading pharmaceutical software solution, enabling our platform to ingest medication regimen data from QS/1 and push back requests such as refills. Impruvon has and will continue to build strong partnerships within the markets we serve to make using our platform as easy as possible for our customers.
Another important aspect of adopting our platform is training.
We make training fun and really get to know our customers! They are typically very excited to replace tackle boxes, file cabinets and three ring binders with our platform. We are reducing the potential mistakes caregivers and nurses can make and we empower better and more efficient performance. The nursing staff loves this; it makes their jobs easier and shows them that someone really cares about helping them do their job even better.
Our customer success managers stay in-touch with our clients once the integration ends; we have bi-weekly meetings to answer questions and learn how we can further improve the platform.
We’re here to help. That’s what Impruvon is all about; we’re about delivering cutting-edge technology to those who really need it, including those who are overwhelmed by what’s often a broken process.
Your company recently received 50K in grant funding from the PWCDED IGNITE grant program. What was the grant process experience like?
Winning the IGNITE grant was an awesome experience. One of the most surprising value drivers was getting our office with the Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI) at George Mason University. I believe this is one of only a few gaming incubators in the country. They have helped us tremendously in gamifying our platform. The $50K grant is amazing, and PWCDED’s support has been invaluable, but the happy accident of landing at VSGI has been terrific for our company as well.
We also worked with Prince William County to submit for a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) System of Care grant. Our partnership with the county enabled us to apply. We didn’t get the grant ultimately, but winning the IGNITE grant paved the way for being able to meet contacts within the County Government who we hope to continue to collaborate with!
Jeff Green, PWCDED’s Economic Development Manager, has been incredible to work with. He always keeps us in mind when opportunities come up and we’re very grateful for that.
What are the next big milestones for Impruvon?
Crossing the finish line with a few of the prospective customers we have been pursuing. Sandra Soriano, our lead Sales Executive has been doing an outstanding job driving these opportunities. In addition, we will begin fund-raising in January which will enable Impruvon to scale to 25 Enterprise Clients (approximately 500 sites), and continue to expand our incredible team.
That said, from a technology perspective the real vision of Impruvon is to use our tech platform to increase an organization’s return-on-investment through the provision of better, safer and more efficient care. We can deploy our technology to maximize reimbursement and ultimately enable our customers to improve care while increasing ROI.
There unfortunately hasn’t been an incentive to provide better care other than just being a good person, which thankfully there are many good people in our space! At the end of the day, these agencies are businesses and as a company selling to them it is our duty to align with and enable their objectives while driving our mission of improving health.
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Steve brings nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and content creation to the WorkForce Genetics team. He loves writing engaging content and working with partners, companies, and individuals to share their unique stories and showcase their work. Steve holds a BA in English from Providence College and an MA in American Literature from Montclair State University. He lives in Frederick, Maryland with his wife, two sons, and the family dog.