Former Medical Alley executive Kathleen Motzenbecker is now applying her industry experience as senior vice president of business development at Omcare, a Burnsville-based health technology startup that just raised $2.5 million to commercialize a medication-dispensing device.

Motzenbecker, hired as Omcare's senior vice president of business development in October, is focusing on building partnerships with caregivers, pharmacies and other potential customers for the Omcare Home Health Hub.

The device includes a video portal so that family members or caregivers can communicate with the user and confirm that the user takes the right medication at the right time. Poor medication adherence accounts for an estimated 25% of hospitalizations and up to $300 billion in health care costs, according to a company release.

Motzenbecker said she became intrigued with the startup community during her three years as senior vice president at the Medical Alley Association, a trade group representing many of the state's health care technology companies.

"It was that maverick approach," Motzenbecker said. "I always loved hearing what the startups were doing, their technologies and innovations. Many of them are people who have been successful in other roles and they're willing to try something new."

Motzenbecker said she also has gotten introduced to new health care technologies as an adviser on the management board of Fairview Ventures, described as an innovation lab for commercialization of new technologies within Fairview Health Services.

In January, Omcare will begin a pilot with Minnesota-based Ecumen Senior Care and Thrifty White Pharmacy, Motzenbecker said. Omcare aims for the device to extend the reach of caregivers, increase medication adherence, lower the cost of care and decrease the sense of loneliness and isolation for users.

A commercial launch of the device is expected later next year, with a boost from a $2.5 million investment, announced on Dec. 16, from Connect the Grey Investment Management in Blue Earth. Also this month, Omcare was selected to join the 2021 cohort of the MassChallenge HealthTech accelerator program.

Motzenbecker's experience includes serving nearly four years as executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office on an appointment from then-Gov. Mark Dayton to the state's official export development arm.

Q: What are your priorities at Omcare?

A: Getting to know senior care facilities, getting to know the pharmacies. Making sure I know the voice of the customer, those who will be using it on both ends. I'll be looking to engage in more conversations with senior care experts and senior housing experts too. What I enjoy most is crafting these big and broad partnerships.

Q: What's the competition for this device?

A: In the medication-adherence world we are really the only medication dispensers that have that two-camera technology so that's really a differentiator for us. That's where the adherence comes in, that we can guarantee that you will be watching your patient take the medication in real time.

Q: Who do you see as users of the Omcare Health Care Hub?

A: Seniors are my personal passion. Another constituency is those with mental health issues and also people who have chronic complex conditions who might take than more seven medications a day. All of them would benefit from this type of technology but in particular so many seniors and others who suffer the detrimental health effects of loneliness. Loneliness is an epidemic and this could pierce through that.

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is