Center for Tech and Aging: Grants for medication adherence

By Brian Dolan
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The Center for Technology and Aging announced a $500,000 grant program for medication optimization, which includes adherence and related issues. The center is offering up to six one-year grants to organizations that propose programs that benefit older adults in California. One or two grants will be made available to those groups with programs in other areas, the center said.

"Programs eligible for grants must use technologies that are ready to be used more broadly. Grantees will be expected to have prior experience with medication optimization technologies and will need to demonstrate a positive and measurable impact in the near term, including reducing the likelihood that older adults will be moved to more intensive, high-cost care settings," according to the Center's release. "Most importantly, programs receiving grants will need to propose a strategy for successfully integrating their technology into the fabric of state and national health care delivery and reimbursement systems."

Medication adherence has been a hot topic for a number of wireless health start-ups and health providers this past year and the two most recent announcements highlight the interest:

Most recently Harvard Pilgrim announced plans to pilot MedMinder's wireless pillbox for some patients in Massachusetts. The randomized controlled study, which is set to begin in early September, aims to determine how effective MedMinder's system is on a population of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD affects 26 million Americans and it currently has no cure. Consistent use of the right medication regimen can slow the disease in some cases.

Medication reminder technology start-up Vitality also recently started selling it's wireless-enabled GlowCaps direct-to-consumer through Amazon.com. GlowCaps fits popular prescription bottles and help remind people to take their medications on time. GlowCaps are now available on Amazon.com for $99.

Of course, technology alone won't solve medication adherence problems. Novartis CEO and Chairman Daniel Vasella recognized that during his keynote presentation at a health industry event earlier this year. "These solutions are all fine and good, but I do not believe these technical approaches will solve the equation," Vasella said. "People are not just machines. People are human beings with social, biological and psychological aspects that need to be addressed" if these solutions are to be effective.

For more on the grants program, read the CTA's press release here
For a better understanding of medication adherence, see Ted Eytan's recent blog post