One of the biggest challenges for physicians and healthcare workers is patient adherence to treatment programs. This can be especially critical for conditions that require that medications be taken on a precise schedule. According to the World Health Organization, as many as 50% of all patients with chronic conditions in developed countries fail to take their medications as prescribed. This could lead to $100 to $300 billion in avoidable healthcare costs each year in the U.S. alone.
A drug company has partnered with the digital health company Proteus to apply for FDA approval of a product that combines both a therapeutic drug and a wearable monitor device. We have covered the Proteus smart pill technology in the past; they create an ingestible chip that can be detected by a patch worn on the patient’s abdomen. When the chip passes the sensor, its specific ID information is recorded, along with the date and time. This information is wirelessly transmitted to a device running a medical software application designed to help manage the patient’s treatment. The system submitted to the FDA is paired with a medication (ABILIFY) that is used to treat patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.
The system could help improve patient adherence to their treatment plans, and can notify healthcare providers if the patient does not take the medication as prescribed. The result could be better outcomes for the patient, as well as reduced costs from incidents that require acute treatment or other intervention.