In the UK, “smart pills” or pills with edible microchips embedded in them, are expected to be released to the public in a few months. These intelligent pills, currently being developed by Proteus Biomedical, have many benefits.

The microchip, which is capable of transmitting physiological data, looks like a small black speck of sand and is composed of materials that are nontoxic.

This means the smart pills can remind patients of upcoming medication doses and even report back to their doctor when they have taken it. The system captures exactly what medications have been taken.

The iMedicalApps team has previously reported on devices that incorporate sensors into mobile technology, such as  BlueHR — a fitness heart rate monitor by Wahoo Fitness— which can sync to your iPhone 4s via bluetooth and without the need for addition adaptors. The smart pill, however, is a new twist on remote patient monitoring.

The smart pills are taken in conjunction with the patient’s normal medication and are expected to cost around $75 a month.

The microchips activate when they come in contact with stomach acid.

“This information, along with data regarding the patient’s body temperature and heart rate, is then wirelessly transmitted to smartphones or computers that are owned by the patient themselves or their carer or GP. The technology monitors the time at which the patients take their medication and then uses their smartphone or computer to prompt them when their next dose is needed.”

Incorporation of these smart pills into a normal medical regime is expected to increase patient compliance with proper use of medication. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 50% of patients do not take their medications correctly.

See below a video regarding what the smart pill looks like and their benefits.

Chief Executive of Proteus Biomedical, Andrew Thompson, explains the vision for the product.

“In the future the goal is a fully integrated system that creates an information product that helps patients and their families with the demands of complex pharmacy. What we know is that we’ve created many pharmaceuticals with great potential but much of that potential is not realised because these drugs are not being used properly.”

Source: Healthcare Global