AT&T reminds you to take your meds

If you don't take your regular dose, a special cap that fits on your pill bottle will call or send you a text. It will also tell your family and your doctor.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor

The same wireless technology we rely on every day will now service our pill bottles.

Earlier today at the Consumer Electronics Show, AT&T and Vitality announced that they’ve teamed up on a gadget that might help patients take their meds regularly – by calling them, sending out weekly emails to family and monthly updates to doctors.

Half of all patients do not faithfully follow their prescribed medication regimen, which can become a problem not just for their health, but also for their families, doctors and insurers.

GlowCaps could be the $10 (plus additional $15/month) solution. These caps fit onto the standard prescription bottle. It knows when the bottle is opened and relays that info to the manufacturer, Vitality, over the AT&T wireless network.

The wireless chip inside the cap enables 4 services:

1. Personal reminders – the cap flashes lights at preset times and plays a ringtone reminder. If you miss a pill, it will also call your phone or send a text.

2. Social network support – the device will send a weekly email update to you and a friend or family member that you pick.

3. Automatic refills – the cap can order refills from your pharmacy.

4. Doctor accountability – GlowCaps will send you and your doctor a printout of your adherence progress every month with ‘incentives’ if you exceed your compliance goal.

"These are instructive findings for pharmaceutical manufacturers and payers who have a vested interest in improving patient outcomes with their products and services,” says David Rose, Chief Executive Officer, Vitality.

More than $100 million is spent every year on avoidable hospitalizations because patients didn’t or couldn’t follow medication instructions, and about 89,000 premature deaths in the US could be prevented annually if patients complied with instructions for prescribed medications for high blood pressure, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.

Stephen Colbert calls this solution “perfect”.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Vitality has been offering similar caps for a couple of years now, but earlier versions either didn’t communicate with doctors or relied on the patient to have a Wi-Fi Internet network. The new caps work in any area with cellular coverage.

The ‘AT&T wirelessly connected Vitality GlowCaps’ cost $10 per cap on Amazon and $15 per month with a connectivity service plan.

Image: Vitality

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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