One of the biggest challenges for health-care providers today is getting patients to actually take the medications they've been prescribed. New York City-based start-up AdhereTech is out to change that.
It is one of a latest crop of health-care companies that address an alarming trend that is costing the United States about $290 billion a year: the non-adherence to prescribed medications. Studies have shown that 20 percent to 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled, and 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed, according to a review in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This not only causes death but an increase in hospitalizations and cost to our health-care system.
Recognizing the problem, AdhereTech makes patented smart pill bottles that track and improve medication adherence in real time. The wireless bottles are loaded with state-of-the-art technology to tell when patients take their medications, aided by sensors that measure the open and close of the bottle, as well as the bottle's contents.
"It compares what patients are doing, to what they should be doing. If our system notices a discrepancy, which means a dose is missed, we have a bunch of interventions," said AdhereTech's CEO and co-founder Josh Stein.
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The bottles analyze and stream data back to providers so they can study how medications are being taken once administered. If a dose is missed, the bottles light up and chime to remind patients to take their pills. The technology can also prompt reminder phone calls to landlines or cellphones, as well as text messages to patients and caregivers. Doctor interventions can also be activated. While it sounds like a high-tech solution, Stein insists it's anything but.