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Westlake students win national competition with medical app pitch

The team's app, PharmAssist, aims to make taking medication safer.

AUSTIN, Texas — Westlake High School may be best known for its sports programs, but one group of students is bringing in the big bucks because of their tech savvy.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the business incubator team, which consists of five Westlake students, came up with the idea to create an app that helps people manage their medications and keep track of things like allergies and conflicting drugs.

The team spent the past year putting together its business plan. In May, the students won $15,000 at the school's pitch competition and, in July, they were selected to compete in a national competition. They won that too, scoring another $10,000.

To receive the $10,000, the team had to find an investment to match the funding, which they are in the process of securing. The Statesman reports that the students have spent the summer working on the business, and they plan to keep putting in hours as part of Westlake's business accelerator course during their senior year.

The students' app, called PharmAssist, aims to make taking medication safer.

"We have features such as reminders to take your medication and also drug interactions to make sure the medicine you're taking does not interfere with a personal condition or other medicine you're already on," Westlake student Megan Swett told the Statesman. "The platform is where you can communicate with loved ones or if you have a caretaker or something to communicate with them so they know if you're staying on track with your medicine."

While a lot of other apps have similar features, the team says PharmAssist is different because it combines all these aspects in one place.

PharmAssist's business model includes several revenue stream options, according to the Statesman's report. Patients can sign up directly and pay $5 a month, hospitals can sign people up to try and avoid the fee they pay when Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days, and companies can pay to advertise on the app.

The Statesman reports that the students' next step is to start building and testing PharmAssist – a process that will likely take several months. The team intends to reach out to clinics like Baylor Scott & White and work with them as part of the app's testing process.

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