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Pill bottle caps send medication reminders wirelessly
January 4th, 2011
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., and DALLAS – An "intelligent" pill bottle cap from Vitality Inc. and AT&T Inc. helps patients take prescription medications regularly by wirelessly sending reminder calls, weekly e-mail reports and monthly updates to their doctors.
The companies said Tuesday that AT&T wirelessly connected Vitality GlowCaps are now available on Amazon.com. The caps cost $10 apiece and $15 per month for AT&T service. Consumers can also sign up online to receive a free GlowCap once they are available at their local and/or national pharmacy.
The Vitality GlowCaps record medication adherence data each time the pill bottle is opened.
GlowCaps fit on standard prescription bottles — including popular prescription bottles available at Walgreens and other retail pharmacies — and use light alerts followed by sound reminders, which can be followed by a phone call or text message so people don't miss a dose, according to Vitality. Each time the pill bottle is opened, adherence data is recorded and securely relayed to Vitality over the AT&T wireless network. The daily adherence information is used to compile periodic progress reports, which are sent to patients, caregivers and doctors, and family members.
Inside the GlowCap is a wireless chip that enables four services: personal reminders, social network support, pharmacy coordination and doctor accountability.
To provide personal reminders, GlowCaps flash and play a ring tone — and can even place a phone call — so that users don't forget to take their pills. The GlowCaps also send a weekly e-mail update to a friend or family member for social support, and the caps order medication refills from the patient's pharmacy. In addition, on a monthly basis, GlowCaps send the patient and his or her doctor a printed report with incentives if adherence goals are exceeded.
Vitality said it uses sophisticated pattern recognition to uncover key motivational levers for each individual, and then it tailors programs to activate these levers and "break through whatever barriers exist." Data generated by GlowCaps can be used to automatically refill prescription drugs as pills deplete.
"GlowCaps use real-time feedback loops to act on a number of behavioral motivators: reminders, doctor accountability, social support and help with refills," explained David Rose, chief executive officer of Cambridge, Mass.-based Vitality. "These are instructive findings for pharmaceutical manufacturers and payors who have a vested interest in improving patient outcomes with their products and services."
Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices for AT&T, commented, "We look forward to delivering to consumers a reliable means to establish and maintain a prescription routine. This solution is simple, easy to use and long overdue."
Vitality and AT&T reported that the World Health Organization estimates that adherence to daily medication averages only 50% for those with chronic diseases. The companies also noted that many studies indicate that poor medication adherence reduces the effectiveness of drugs, jeopardizes patient health and raises health care costs. Recent research by the New England Healthcare Institute estimates the costs resulting from nonadherence at $300 billion annually.