AdhereTech smart bottle

People often speak of the “miracle of modern medicine” and how it saves lives. The most effective drugs in the world can be rendered worthless, however, if patients do not take them as prescribed. Adherence to treatment instructions is a major problem in healthcare. It is also an expensive problem for pharmaceutical companies when it comes to conducting clinical trials of new medications. If test subjects do not take the assigned medications when they are supposed to, their results may not be valid and could be eliminated from the study.

AdhereTech is a company that is addressing the problem of patient adherence to medication instructions. They have created a smart pill bottle that monitors when the patient takes the medication, and can trigger alerts to remind the patient or a caregiver if a dose is late or has been missed. One of the key design goals for the product was that it had to be ready to run when it is delivered to the patient. The solution is to include a cellular phone transceiver that can send and receive data without the need to configure it for a WiFi or Bluetooth connection.

The bottle and the supporting system can be customized to meet the needs of the drug company and the patients, but in general, the bottle starts to glow with blue light as the time to take a pill approaches. If the pill has not been taken by a certain time, the bottle glows red and beeps. A message is also sent to the patient or caregiver, either through a recorded phone message or a text message. If the dose is missed, the system can query the patient or caregiver to find out why it was missed, and if there perhaps are complications or side effects that prevented the patient from taking the pill.

This system can greatly improve patient adherence to medication instructions, which can make the treatment more effective and lower costs due to wasted drugs.