'Digital pills,' other wireless breakthroughs hold promise, but who will pay?

Forget about e-prescribing systems that alert doctors when patients pick up their medications. The same goes for "smart" pill bottles, which only send reminders and register when a dosage is removed. If you want to track whether patients actually take their meds as prescribed, try "digital pills," digestible sensors attached to medication that can confirm pill ingestion.

The Wall Street Journal today takes a look at these and other cutting-edge wireless technologies that have great potential to revolutionize healthcare by keeping people healthier and saving billions of dollars, but notes that there isn't much real data showing gains from remote monitoring. The digital pills, produced by Proteus Biomedical, a Silicon Valley start-up, are still in the trial phase. Plus, new technology is expensive and insurers are rightly reluctant to pay for it until there are studies showing real benefits. There also are plenty of questions about privacy and security.

For more of the pros and cons of new wireless technologies in healthcare:
- check out this Wall Street Journal story