03 March 2010

File under: solving personal and social problems with technological solutions

WSJ | Anna Wilde Mathews | Beep! It's Your Medicine Nagging You

The container — actually a high-tech top for a standard pill bottle called a "GlowCap" — is equipped with a wireless transmitter that plugs into the wall. When it is time for a dose of medicine, the GlowCap emits a pulsing orange light; after an hour, the gadget starts beeping every five minutes, in arpeggios that become more complicated and insistent. After that, the device can set off an automated telephone or text message reminder to patients who fail to take their pills. It also can generate email or letters reporting to a family member or doctor how often the medication is taken.

It is one of the high-tech ways companies are grappling with medicine noncompliance. Only about half of patients who are prescribed a medication for a chronic condition are still taking the drug regularly after a year [...]
I typically rankle at the term "low hanging fruit," but this is an excellent example.  How many billions get spent developing slow-release drugs that need to be taken less often to minimize the chances of people forgetting?  And here comes this pretty simple widget to, well not to solve that problem, but to alleviate it, and you don't need lengthy trials and FDA approval and it works for anything that comes in a bottle.  Genius.

I'd like to be able to set this thing up to ping my phone or email before setting off an audible alarm, but that may just be because I lived too long in a dorm room next to a certain dude who made it a habit of leaving his alarm clock on while he was out of the building all day.  [Grumble.]

(Via McArdle)

PS I mentioned attacking social problems with Science a couple of days ago in relation to ESR and Iran.

No comments:

Post a Comment