Written by ForeignExchange Translations on Monday, October 08, 2012
Modern medicine is amazing but drugs don't work in patients who don't take them, as former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once remarked. And often they don't take them. Current levels of compliance can be as low as 40% for some medications.
We have previously written about efforts by Proteus Biomedical and Novartis to embed computers and sensors inside drugs and devices to monitor when a patient takes a drug and how they respond to it. Another strategy that has been gaining steam is to put some intelligence (or, at least, technology) in good old pill bottles.
Electronic pill trays have been shown to reduce drug identification and dosing errors. AT&T-connected Vitality GlowCaps went one better and used flashing lights and audio reminders, as well as phone calls and SMS, to remind forgetful patients that it's time to pop a pill.
Now there is a new angle to the "smart pill bottle" approach: AdhereTech's battery-powered smart pill bottle measures medication in a bottle using capacitance, the same technology used in touch screens. The sensors are between plastic in the bottle's walls so they never touch the meds, but can accurately measure down to one pill of solid medication or one milliliter of liquid medication. The bottle then transmits the data to the patient in the form of a text message or phone call reminder. Patients can also have data sent to their friends, family, or doctor.
Clearly, improved medication adherence is a good thing. But call me a Luddite - I think that combining medications and communications technology is creepy and invites misuse of an altogether different kind.
[Hat tip to The Verge]
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