The orange prescription bottle is ubiquitous (unless you go to Target) in the pill cabinets of patients in the US.
While these mass produced bottles have made it easier to dispense medications (in the traditional ‘Lick, Stick, and Pour’), it has done nothing to make the process of taking medications any easier.
Medication non-adherence is a tough, multifaceted problem. We know that patients do not take their medications on a regular basis.
With the current medical system, the movement to primary prevention and increasing life expectancy, chronic medication use almost becomes an inevitable outcome in some form for most people.
Many studies have looked into increasing medication adherence. Even smartphones and their apps have been investigated and identified as a potential source of overcoming adherence problems.
But how about a combination of a pill bottle and app? Welcome to AdhereTech, a recent startup that seeks to address medication non-adherence with a revolutionary new ‘smart pill bottle.’ The bottles come equipped with 3G and LTE capabilities, and will be able to sense and transmit the contents of the bottle to the cloud through HIPAA compliant means.
As a pharmacist, I am very excited about this. I can imagine the time when my profession will be able to tell when a patient is taking their medications and then follow-up with them to find out what some of the problems are. Is it new side effects? Cost related issues?
Knowing that there is an issue and offering a way to fix it may be a great advantage of this system. Pairing this system up with other metrics will also offer a great way to manage a patient’s disease as well. Did you just increase a patient’s diabetes regimen? How does the patient’s glucose level look when compared to taking the new regimen? Are there increased hypoglycemic events?
These could be answered by merging other disease monitoring apps with a pill adherence monitoring tool AdhereTech is offering. I believe that this will be a great device–especially for diseases where readmission plays a big role regarding medication non-adherence.
Case in point, CMS and CHF readmissions. I have seen too many patients that are non-compliant with their regimen that lapse back into acute exacerbations. Perhaps this technology will offer a chance to help prevent readmissions, scale back costs, and increase quality of life for patients.