Partners study shows higher med adherence with 'smart' pill bottles

Patients who used a pill-bottle cap with a wireless transmitter to track medication adherence were far more likely to stay on their drug regimens than those in a control group, preliminary results of a study show.

The Center for Connected Health at Partners HealthCare System in Boston also found a compliance rate as high as 99 percent among patients with hypertension who used the Vitality GlowCap wireless pill bottle. Patients that received electronic and visual reminders from the bottle took their meds 98 percent of the time, while those given both the smart pill bottle and financial rewards for sticking with their regimens achieved 99 percent compliance, the research center says. That compares to 71 percent among study participants who had standard pill bottles.

"The difference between achieving that 71 percent and 98 percent means fewer healthcare costs, healthier people and they'll spend less of society's money, whether that will be the employer's money or the government's money," Center for Connected Health Director Dr. Joseph Kvedar tells eWeek. "The fact that we can get adherence to 98 percent is very exciting."

The GlowCap communicates with a nightlight that's connected to AT&T's cellular network to allow Vitality to track when and if the bottle has been opened. The vendor can activate the light or send audible signals or text, voice or email notifications if the patient misses a scheduled dose. "GlowCaps use real-time feedback loops to act on a number of behavioral motivators: reminders, doctor accountability, social support and help with refills," Vitality CEO David Rose says, according to Healthcare IT News. "These are instructive findings for pharmaceutical manufacturers and payers who have a vested interest in improving patient outcomes with their products and services."

For greater detail:
- check out this eWeek story
- take a look at this Healthcare IT News article
- read this press release from the Center for Connected Health (.pdf)
- visit the center's page on medication adherence