A ‘Smart’ Prescription Bottle Could Help Lead to Better Health

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It’s here: A wireless medication adherence product that could help improve the health of millions of Americans—with clear benefits for both patients and doctors. This product could even help reduce healthcare costs and sick days. Insurers, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies may also benefit.

The simple but powerful invention is a “smart” prescription bottle and clinical software platform called SMRxT. The system can tell if you take the right dose at the right time. And in case you miss a dose, SMRxT’s intelligent messaging service will send alerts to you or your caregiver, and reports to your doctor if non-adherence persists (based on patient preferences and with proper patient privacy restrictions in place).

Missed and incorrect medication dosing is a major health problem. In the U.S., half of patients do not take their medication as directed. These missed treatments lead to $290 billion spent each year on medical care that could have been prevented, which includes $100 billion in hospital bills alone. If patients took their medications and avoided these visits, it’s possible that spending on healthcare would decline, emergency rooms would be less crowded, doctors might have more time with patients and people would be healthier. The idea is to treat conditions before they worsen, cure what can be cured and manage chronic diseases to avoid complications.

This little pill bottle can help. Patients can pick up their prescription at the pharmacy as usual, with SMRxT in the base of the bottle. The device is programmed to sense when the bottle is picked up, and measures the weight of the medicine, reading when a tablet has been removed or not. The information is then sent wirelessly to the SMRxT platform for processing and made available to caregivers to show that the patient is on schedule. If a dose is missed, an alert can go out to both patient and caregiver as a reminder or notification.

“By communicating actionable and accurate adherence data, our system can help improve medication adherence for the chronically ill who are suffering from the most debilitating diseases,” explains Bill Reay, the company’s Chief Pharmacy Officer.  

The potential to improve health and the financial impact is why SMRxT was selected to be a Verizon Innovation Program partner. “Verizon has been an incredible innovation development partner,” says Victor Chu, the company’s co-founder and CTO. Verizon provided the early start-up with “exposure and introductions to the leading healthcare and technology executives” says Chu. Thanks to that support, the product is being tested now with a pharmaceutical company and a prominent healthcare network. We’re ramping up production and manufacturing in 2015.

See here for more information about the Verizon Innovation Program and its partners.

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