Monday, December 19, 2011

Interactive Pill Bottle Caps

Just saw this advertised for patients taking Multaq (dronedarone): interactive pill bottle caps called "GlowCaps:"
GlowCapsTM is a bottle with built-in wireless communication... When you receive your GlowCapTM, you program it with your schedule. It will then remind you when it's time to take Multaq by lighting up, playing a melody, or calling your home phone. If you and your physician choose, your GlowCapTM can also send weekly reminder e-mail to you and a caregiver, send reports to your doctor, and refills can be initiated with the push of a button, if you provide a phone number when registering.
Okay. That's pretty cool.

How It Works

GlowcapTM, manufactured by Vitality, Inc, has an embedded computer chip that communicates via low frequency RF with a cellular connected nightlight. The nighlight sends information to Vitality via a GE864-QUAD chip, over the AT&T GSM/GPRS network. Hence you must be in an AT&T wireless network area.

But I do worry about alarm fatigue. And how much does this cost? Will patients just ignore their pills or even grow to hate their melodies? And what happens when everyone's pill bottles go off at the symphony? Or what about pill identification: "Doc, it's the one that sounds like a wind-chime." Finally, if I start getting e-mail reports (spam?) from patients regarding their Multaq pills, I really, really won't be happy.

Just because technology can do all these things, doesn't mean it always should.

Still, it shows where technology is taking us in a hurry.



Unknown said...

Many years ago,mwhile working at a huge BigPharma company I patented a similar, but better device. Drug companies had no interest. Also a cap, it always indicated the last time the med had been taken, day-of-week, time-of-day, and AM or PM. Seiko manufactured many, and I still have many thousand in my barn! Shameless plug, see for details and images.

Email , mention Dr. Wes for free sample. $5 S&H.

Tim Hulsey, MD said...

"Doc, it's the one that sounds like a wind-chime."
I never use "LOL", but I might have to in this case. It's difficult enough when they can only tell you, "It's a little blue pill."
I like Unknown's cap better. When I get up in the morning, I frequently take my AM meds before my medial longitudinal fasciculus has kicked in completely. Later in the morning, I sometime question whether I took my pills or not (it's an age thing). His cap would be a reminder- a silent reminder. I really hate to miss my "keep me from going postal" meds! And so does everyone else.