Any time you miss your medication there can be health consequences. When you are a senior, remembering your meds can be even more of a challenge, and the consequences may be even more severe. According to the Center of Disease Control, failure to properly take medication causes between 30-50 percent of chronic disease treatment failures and 125,000 deaths per year in the United States. This also costs between $100 and $300 billion annually.
The tech industry has been working to help with this problem and there are several good options out on the market for purchase for you or your aging loved one.
Adhere Tech is just one of the few companies that has created a smart pill bottle. There are sensors and tech in the bottle itself. These sensors can accurately measure the amount of medication in a bottle be it pills or liquid. Once the dose of medication has been missed, the on-bottle light comes on, a while after that a chime goes off and, lastly, an automated text message or call can go out to a caregiver or relative.
AdhereTech estimates that there is a 20 percent increase in adherence and 25 percent increase in duration.
Like all smart technology it can also collect data. The bottle can tell if the medication has been taken, if the correct dosage was taken, the time of day it is taken and how long they stay on it. By collecting all this information the bottle can detect patterns to understand why medication is not taken and work on solutions to help. This information can also be given to pharmaceutical companies on how their medications are being used and why they discontinue their intake.
The bottle does require a charge after 200 days and does not require Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Patients can receive the bottles for free because the drug companies pay for the data the pill bottle collects.
My Ubox is another smart pillbox. Ubox has an app that can sync with anyone’s phone. You place the times medication needs to be taken in the app and then at that time the pill box dispenses your medication. It lights up, beeps and tells the smartphone. You can set up loved ones and/or a doctor on your app so that they get notifications when you and if you have taken your medication.
MedMinder claims to help improve medication adherence above 90% and is currently priced out at $39.99/month. The difference between MedMinder and the other two options discussed is that it looks the most like a normal pill dispenser, however it holds up to 28 days of medication. The dispenser does not require internet, a computer or Bluetooth, only electricity.
To set up the dispense schedule you can have MedMinder do it or you can do it yourself. You can set up email and text message notifications and a weekly report for yourself and/or any relatives or caregivers. These weekly reports show when the cup was taken out, when it was refilled and if any medication was missed.
You can also set up reminders to take your medication. If the box is not removed from the device (which is how you indicate that you are taking the medicine), then audible prompts, phone calls, text messages and/or emails can all be sent as reminders.
To refill the medication boxes you can either do it yourself or have several trays filled by a pharmacist or caregiver.
Taking your medication is an important daily responsibility. Having a smart pillbox to help you remember can be beneficial for you and give your caregivers/relatives peace of mind that you are taking care of yourself.