What They’re Watching: Kristine Ashcraft, YouScript

Kristine Ashcraft is the Chief Executive Officer of YouScript, a company dedicated to precision medication management. She joins us in this edition of What They’re Watching to discuss pharmacogenetic testing.

“I’ve been in the precision medicine space, specifically pharmacogenetic testing, since 2000. And way back then there was an article in Fortune magazine about a boy named Michael who had died of an overdose because like 1 in 20 patients he had a DNA variation that made his drug unsafe for him. So, I actually worked at the first laboratory to offer pharmacogenetic testing with CLIA accreditation in the United States and I had a pretty unique opportunity to speak with literally thousands of physicians and pharmacists about the widespread barriers to adoption of technologies that could have saved Michael’s life. And we would get the same questions over and over again — how do I know which patients to test? How do I know how to act on that in my busy clinical workflow? Where are the studies validating that this actually impacts outcomes? And in my opinion, YouScript is really the culmination to the answer to all of those questions.

We have a patented score that actually staff ranks patients that are most likely to benefit from genetic tests to optimize their drugs and doses, and we provide real-time drug and dose optimization guidance based on genetics and everything else the patient is taking. I think it’s the first time we’ve actually moved beyond binary interaction alerts, which have been the standard for about 40 years, to understand holistically all of the different factors that can impact medication response including genetics. I think some people are ready, you know you’ve got the adoption curve — you know the innovators and early adopters. We’re definitely in the innovator and early adopter part of the life cycle but I think as more and more evidence continues to come out that this dramatically reduces emergency room visits, hospitalizations, even death, and drives down the cost of care… I think once you see that at about 30 health systems it becomes a patient safety imperative, it’s no longer a choice. We’re getting closer to that.”