About us

Table of contents

1. Our mission in healthcare

Our mission is to prevent patients from unnecessary harm due to medications. We believe that the time is ripe to introduce an application on the international market which will enable every health care provider, doctor and pharmacist to prevent unnecessary errors in prescribing medication and their subsequent consequences in the long term. All our efforts funnel towards the prevention of avoidable adverse drug events and thus patient harm around the globe.

2. The problem

Despite the economic and health impact, at this point in time the situation remains an unsolved burden on society. The number of patients over 65 years of age in Switzerland taking more than 5 prescription drugs is more than 45% and growing. The probability of adverse drug events increases with the number of drugs taken. In general the number of drugs used is increasing, as is the amount of information to be considered in relation to therapy.

3. Our solution

For the first time, a rapid, highly accurate webapp is available to identify the serious risks in individual patients with polypharmacy. Now everyone who manages drug therapies can prevent patient harm from drugs and is supported in settling the additional costs.

4. Our track record

Since our inception in 2008, epha has opened the door to a web-based prescription process for countless physicians, and from 2010 is offering the first web based electronic prescription service in Switzerland. The University of Zurich became one of the shareholders. Over 2000 physicians subsequently registered and issued more than 20’000 prescriptions. At this point, we have received more traffic from physicians than Yahoo Health in Switzerland. The use of innovative visualizations of drug interactions and the calculation of possible therapy alternatives have set standards in the field of medication safety. Thus far, we are the only provider which is able to compute better drug alternatives by brute forcing all possible interactions in realtime.
From 2012 on, in cooperation with Swissmedic we began to produce high quality patient education films Ezetrol, Janumet to foster the understanding of the mechanism of action and increase adherence. These films have been translated into many different languages and are used throughout Europe. Our customer list includes Merck Sharp & Dohme, Desitin and AstraZeneca. Beginning in 2013 we made resolute steps into the data science area, with our scientific work emphasizing the relevance of medication safety for society. At this point and with more than 300 million anonymised insurance invoices we arrived at the vanguard of data science in drug safety. In addition in 2014 we won the innovation prize of Swiss insurance companies for our drug safety project with Sanitas. In 2017 one of our mobile apps, which has been designed in collaboration with the Onco-Zentrum Zürich, has received the Lohfert prize.

From 2016 until 2019 we received funding from Helsana to develop a patient record. The patient record is based on a Swiss prescription service with integrated clinical decision support and has been certified as a Class I medical device under the EU directive (MDD) and is visited by 15 to 40 thousand users per month. The NZZ and Süddeutsche Zeitung published articles about the app.

Then in 2020 we presented our new solution epha.v3 to the public for the first time at the health20.20 conference.

5. The team

The idea of epha originated in the MBA class of the University of St. Gallen and the company was founded at the Department of Clinical Pharmacology of the University of Zurich in 2008. epha is a spinoff of the University of Zurich. We are an interdisciplinary team of clinical pharmacologists, designer, developers, pharmacists and physicists.

6. Selected Publications

  1. Jödicke AM, Burden AM, Zellweger U, Tomka IT, Neuer T, Roos M, Kullak-Ublick GA, Curkovic I, Egbring M. Medication as a risk factor for hospitalization due to heart failure and shock: a series of case-crossover studies in Swiss claims data. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2020 Jul;76(7):979-989. Pubmed
  2. Jödicke AM, Zellweger U, Tomka IT, Neuer T, Curkovic I, Roos M, Kullak-Ublick GA, Sargsyan H, Egbring M. Prediction of health care expenditure increase: how does pharmacotherapy contribute? BMC Health Serv Res. 2019 Dec 11;19(1):953. Pubmed
  3. Jödicke AM, Curkovic I, Zellweger U, Tomka IT, Neuer T, Kullak-Ublick GA, Roos M Egbring M. Analysis of drug-drug interactions in Swiss claims data using tizanidine and ciprofloxacin as a prototypical contraindicated combination. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2018 52(10):983-991. Pubmed
  4. Egbring M, Far E, Roos M, Dietrich M, Brauchbar M, Kullak-Ublick GA, Trojan A: A Mobile App to Stabilize Daily Functional Activity of Breast Cancer Patients in Collaboration With the Physician: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. J Med Internet Res. 2016 Sep 6;18(9):e238. Pubmed
  5. Dietrich M, Zingg PO, Egbring M, Kamath AF, Dora C. Pre-hospital medications in total hip arthroplasty: risk factors for poor outcomes. Hip Int. 2015 May-Jun; 25(3):215-20. Pubmed
  6. Curkovic I, Egbring M, Kullak-Ublick GA. Risks of inflammatory bowel disease treatment with glucocorticosteroids and aminosalicylates. Dig Dis. 2013; 31(3-4):368-73. Pubmed
  7. Curkovic I, Egbring M, Kullak-Ublick GA. Thrombocyte aggregation inhibitors: what are the risks?. Praxis (Bern 1994). 2013 Oct 2;102(20):1243-50. Pubmed
  8. Fritz D, Ceschi A, Curkovic I, Huber M, Egbring M, Kullak-Ublick GA, Russmann S: Comparative evaluation of three clinical decision support systems: prospective screening for medication errors in 100 medical inpatients. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2012 Aug;68(8):1209-19. Pubmed
  9. Far, Elmira; Curkovic, Ivanka; Byrne, Kelly; Roos, Malgorzata; Egloff, Isabelle; Dietrich, Michael; Kirch, Wilhelm; Kullak-Ublick, Gerd A; Egbring, Marco. Validation of a transparent decision model to rate drug interactions. BMC Pharmacology & Toxicology 2012 Aug 20;13(1):7
  10. Egbring, Marco; Far, Elmira; Knuth, Alexander; Roos, Malgorzata; Kirch, Wilhelm; Kullak-Ublick, Gerd A. Performance of different data sources in identifying adverse drug events in hospitalized patients. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2011 Mar 11;67(9):909-918 Pubmed