Cool Technology of the Week

Before my trip to Japan, I attended the New England Healthcare Institute Medication Adherence Expert Roundtable on Thursday July 23rd, 2009. The purpose of the roundtable was to prioritize activities that would encourage patients to be more compliant with the medications, especially those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure and COPD. Recommendations from the group included better patient education, enhanced use of IT such as medication reconciliation, and healthcare reform which ensures clinicians have the time and incentives to coordinate and manage all medications for their patients.

One technology that we discussed was an intelligent pill bottle for the home from rxvitality.com and it’s my cool technology of the week. Using technology similar to the Ambient Orb, the intelligent pill bottle flashes to indicate when it’s time to take the medication inside the bottle. When the bottle is opened it sends telemetry back to a portal which can be used to track patient medication adherence.

The device includes a small wireless access point for the home, making the device plug and play. No cell phone plan, configuration or special software is needed – just an internet connection.

A pill bottle that notifies the patient when medications are to be taken and informs the clinician when medications are actually taken.

That’s cool!

John D. Halamka, MD, MS, is CIO of the CareGroup Health System, CIO and Dean for Technology at Harvard Medical School, Chairman of the New England Health Electronic Data Interchange Network (NEHEN), CEO of MA-SHARE, Chair of the US Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP), and a practicing emergency physician. He blogs regularly at Life as a Healthcare CEO, where this post first appeared.

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7 replies »

  1. That is a very neat technology. Thanks for posting about it. I was looking at the picture, and it’s incredible how far technology has come. I can’t believe the bottle could actually call your home to remind you. That’s remarkable.
    I know everyone has an elderly parent or grandparent, and I think this technology is a great advancement. It will not only prevent medicine mix-ups, but it will also prevent accidentally skipping/forgetting to take pills.

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  3. who does the portal transmit the data to? Can family have it report on their elderly parnets and grandparents? Or is it to expensive for personal use?

  4. I can’t find the price of this anywhere. The ‘Solo’ version (unconnected) is $30 which is 2x or 3x the cost of other medication reminder pill boxes and this can only handle a single medication in one bottle size.
    I can see how the exact time information would be useful for a drug study but as a reminder for general use, it would need to handle lots of different medications and be much cheaper.
    (Amazon has various other medication reminders with pill boxes that can handle multiple meds and multiple times a day for $10 to $15.)

  5. Yes there has been lots of interest in the product and we are now out of stock!
    If you want to be notified when inventory is available please email us Amazon@vitality.net
    Our goal is to have these widely deployed by pharmacies and paid for by health plans.

  6. when you click buy now you get
    “Currently unavailable.
    We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”
    do they have the back end portal up and running? Who can connect to it, can children of the elderly get set up to make sure senior citizens are taking their meds or does it have to be providers with a large upfront investment?