Medication adherence is a huge problem, and it's one that seems solvable. People fail to take the pills prescribed to them for many reasons, but one of the biggest is forgetfulness, especially among elderly patients who take a lot of medications and can easily become confused.
Pillboxes have always been the go-to technology to improve adherence, whether it's a simple Monday-through-Friday organizer or a locked pillbox with a daily alarm. But mobile technology has added another component to the smart pillbox: connectivity. Now your pillbox doesn't just remind you to take your pills; it can track whether you did take them and report that information back to a doctor or caregiver.
With Vitality GlowCaps going mainstream at CVS.com and new pillboxes debuting at CES in January and since then, the market for smart, connected pill bottles seems poised to explode.
"I think there will be many winners," Josh Stein, CEO of smart pill bottle maker AdhereTech, told MobiHealthNews. "Adherence is such a big space that's asking for technology to help it, and it's a vastly complicated issue. There will certainly not be one winner. Many different solutions will win out. The best thing that could happen to us right now would be a large scale adaption of smart pillboxes and smart pill bottles, so that it becomes something people actually think about."
Here's seven companies using sensors and connectivity to help seniors remember to take their pills:
Probably the biggest name in connected pillboxes, Vitality's GlowCaps are cellular-connected caps that fit on regular pill bottles. The caps connect wirelessly to a base station, and both the caps and the station light up when it's time to take a pill. The cap can also play music, and call the user's or a caregiver's phone if they miss a dose. A button on the cap automatically requests a refill of the medication, using AT&T connectivity.
MobiHealthNews learned recently that Vitality is looking to pilot a new form factor with essentially the same functionality, called the GlowPack. The GlowPack is an adjustable pouch that can hold blister packs, inhalers, injectable solutions, liquid medicines, and topical ointments, rather than just pills.