Rush University Medical Center offers smart pill to improve medication adherence

A Chicago academic medical center has begun using pills equipped with a small sensor to help remind patients to take their medication and provide physicians with real-time data on medication adherence.

Rush University Medical Center is one of just eight systems in the country using the new technology, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The system is using the smart pill in a small cohort of patients that have Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

The sensor, added to each capsule, sends a signal to a Bluetooth device attached to a patient’s abdomen. Failure to receive the signal prompts an alert from a mobile app. Physicians can also access each patient’s medication history through a web portal.

RELATED: Study quantifies healthcare costs for medication adherence and nonadherence

The hospital hopes to improve suboptimal medication adherence for patients with chronic conditions. A study published last year indicated that patients who adhere to prescription schedules save thousands in medical costs each year.

“From a behavioral perspective, experts would say you need to perform a behavior consistently for about three months to create a pattern,” Anthony Perry, M.D., vice president for population health and ambulatory services at Rush told Crain’s. “We believe after that period, we can take the tool away and the pattern will remain.”

RELATED: Rush deploys messaging software to improve postsurgery recoveries

The new initiative builds on the medical center’s technology-focused approach to patient care. Recently, Rush rolled out software to communicate with post-op surgical patients along with a web-based application designed to treat patients at home.