- 18 January 2024
- Posted by: Laura Croft
- Categories: Feature, General News, Women in Innovation
Tell us what you are working on.
I’m working on a mobile app called TaperMate that will help people safely stop medications that cause withdrawal symptoms. TaperMate will allow people to access evidence based information and content to help them to develop and track a safe medication tapering plan. It will also allow users to track and record their symptoms and generate reports for discussion with their prescribers. The goal is that TaperMate will increase collaboration between patients and prescribers by empowering patients with information and prescribers with data.
Why is innovation important to you?
Innovation is important to me because it helps us to solve problems, big or small, in new and exciting ways. Innovations make life easier, more efficient or just more enjoyable and those are all really valuable.
What drives you to make a difference?
I’m a pharmacist and I’ve seen the devastating effects that psychotropic medication withdrawal can have on people’s lives as well as the confusion and frustration that comes from the lack of understanding or support from prescribers and healthcare professionals. At the moment people are forced to seek peer advice in online forums and support groups because there’s not enough support from health professionals. I think the online peer support groups for medication tapering are amazing and inspiring communities just trying to help others going through the same journey of withdrawal. But it’s crazy to me that people have to seek peer advice on a topic like this. I’m driven to make sure that people can get up-to-date evidence based information about safe medication tapering from withdrawal and tapering informed healthcare professionals.
What are your goals for 2024 and beyond?
My major goal for 2024 is to launch the first version of TaperMate! I have a lot of ideas and plans for additional features and partnerships that TaperMate might have down the track, but right now we’re focusing on getting the core functionality (planning and tracking a safe medication taper) out there so we can start helping people sooner! Initially TaperMate will only be available in Australia but I hope to expand it internationally as soon as possible because over-prescription of psychotropic medications and under-recognised withdrawal is a global problem.
Do you have any advice for getting more women into innovation and entrepreneurship?
Be brave and follow through with your ideas – but get the right support and advice from people (particularly other women) who know what it’s like to try and start something new. The idea doesn’t have to be fully formed or perfect before you start trying to do something about it, getting feedback early on will only help you to make it better. I would strongly recommend the Idea to Impact program through the Canberra Innovation Network. It really helped me refine my idea and gave me tangible activities and steps to take to make TaperMate a reality.
What are you proud of right now?
I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made in 2023 and I’m confident that TaperMate will be launched in 2024 which is amazing! I have a big win and a little win that I’m proud of. My big win is a grant that will allow us to bring in an additional developer to make TaperMate a reality sooner. My little win is I’ve recently been contacted by a couple of people from other countries who are interested in learning more about TaperMate!
I also have a shameless plug – if you are or know of a software developer who might be interested in taking on an exciting project please get them to contact me – Alicia@tapermate.com.au
Interested in connecting with more inspiring women like Alicia? Come along to our first Female Founder of 2024 on Tuesday 13 February, 12:15pm – 1:30pm. See you there!