Here is an inspiring story of a passionate woman with a mission to end avoidable adverse drug events in the prescriptive healthcare ecosystem. Based in Seattle, the CEO of YouScript, Kristine Ashcraft is a qualified molecular biologist as well as a prolific author of numerous publications.
Spun out of genetic testing lab Genelex in 2016 with over 15 years of IP, YouScript is the leader in precision medication management and clinical decision support analytics, evaluating potential drug-drug,gene-drug, and multi-factor interactions. Backed by a powerful combination of innovative analytics software and expert staff, YouScript has a longstanding commitment to the prevention of dangerous and life-threatening adverse drug events (ADEs).
In an exclusive interview with Mirror Review, Kristine reveals the unknown facts about her personal life, professional calling, her source of inspiration and more.
- What is the present day scenario of the healthcare industry?
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, one person dies every 5 minutes from adverse reactions to “properly” prescribed medications in the U.S. Half of the medications we prescribe do not work as intended and are therefore wasted therapies. In 2009, we spent 289 billion on medication related issues, and the problem has only grown, as we now have 50 million Americans taking five or more medications daily with the number expected to climb further. Despite the FDA’s statement that drug-gene interaction should be considered as an equivalent of drug-drug interactions, they are typically not taken into account in clinical care. There is an adverse drug event epidemic and until YouScript, we were using binary drug interaction tools that miss over 33% of significant medication issues, providing alert fatigue instead of actionable guidance.
- Tell us about your company and its unique range of services. In the modern era of technology, how has YouScript adapted to those changes in its working ecosystem?
The YouScript Precision Prescribing Software identifies at-risk individuals within patient populations, helps medical professionals interpret pharmacogenetic testing results, and provides expert support for medication management. Additionally, it is also the first analytics software tool available to prescribers that predict potential drug-drug, drug-gene, and cumulative drug interactions based on both cytochrome P450 metabolism and genetic testing. Our software is integrated into major electronic health records including Epic, Cerner, & Allscripts.
- Our readers would like to know about your personal journey. What attracted you to start a venture in the healthcare sector?
When I applied for college, I planned to focus on genetic research to help find a cure for cancer. I watched my 5’ 8” grandmother wither down to eighty pounds before it took her life, and was determined to do something to stop the ravages of this horrible disease. With this goal in mind, I studied molecular biology. However, it soon became apparent that although I excelled in science and loved the subject matter, the laboratory bench was not the place for me. I felt more in my element using my leadership and communication skills, which both come naturally to me. Bearing this in mind, I left college, headed in a different direction, and got even more committed to making a difference.
I was fortunate to secure a job in 2000 with Genelex, one of the first labs to offer pharmacogenetic testing. There, I led the business development team and had the unique opportunity to talk to thousands of pharmacists, physicians, and patients about widespread barriers to the adoption of pharmacogenetic testing and utilization of the results. YouScript was developed to answer the recurring questions of whom to test, how to act on test results, and how to use the information in a busy clinical workflow.. We have also completed some vital clinical validation studies to prove that pharmacogenetic testing in conjunction with the YouScript platform improve outcomes and reduce healthcare costs..
As a leader of a prominent healthcare company, what role do you play in its operations and growth? How do you tackle professional crisis?
I keep a pulse on the industry, represent the company at major conferences and events, as well as play a key role in its business development. I am a passionate champion for our mission to end avoidable adverse drug events and have weathered many challenges over the years in trying to attain this goal. Remembering to celebrate even the smallest victories, staying focused on the importance of our work, and remaining dedicated to make a difference in healthcare, keeps me pushing forward to overcome obstacles. As long as we keep the end game – ending avoidable adverse drug events – in mind whenever we are faced with decisions, things tend to fall in place.
- How does your company stand apart from its competitors? What are your future milestones for YouScript?
YouScript is the only software on the market to include multi-drug and gene combinations, catching 33% more significant interactions than current binary tools. Our personalized, actionable interface results in recommendations accepted at 4-7x the current rate. This increase in acceptance shows our commitment to reducing alert fatigue, only surfacing the most critical and important information as curated and managed by our team of clinical pharmacists. YouScript’s risk analysis tools evaluate patient populations to stack-rank and identify patients’ most likely to benefit from pharmacogenetic testing and at highest risk of adverse medication outcomes.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Economics, the University of Utah showed the use of pharmacogenetic testing and reports generated with YouScript’s clinical decision support software reduced hospitalizations by 39-percent and ED visits by 71-percent in elderly patients taking multiple medications in just 4 months. A more recent randomized controlled trial in ≥ 50 years old patients’ released to home health after a hospitalization resulted in a 52-percent reduction in re-admissions and a 42-percent reduction in ED visits with an estimated per patient savings of over $4300 in just 60-days.
We are currently live at Premier Medical Associates in Pittsburgh, PA as part of a Highmark BCBS Vital Innovation program and Group Health of South Central Wisconsin in Madison, WI. Additionally, we are being leveraged for Clover Health’s complex care patients and are part of the demos at the Cerner Vision Center where current and prospective customers can view our clinical utility in a live working model.
At YouScript, our mission is to end the avoidable adverse drug events and we truly live and breath this through our commitment to patient safety and personalized clinical decision support.
- On a personal note, who has been your true source of inspiration?
My mother has always been a huge inspiration to me. She attended a night college to get her accounting degree as she was a single mother, later got her MPH while working full-time in her 50s, and eventually became the Chancellor of the entire Oregon University system. She not only taught me the value of hard work and tenacity, but also the importance of treating people kindly, believing in them, and dedicating yourself to making a positive impact in your community.