Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Are you taking those pills yet?
Over a year ago, I wrote about entrepreneur Eran Shavelsky, CEO of MedMinder, who has created an electronic, cell-phone connected pillbox that can help people remember to take their prescription drugs. As I noted at the time: "The pillbox has an embedded cellular phone that can send reminders by phone call, text message, or email. It also has lights that blink and sound alerts that beep. You can program it to send reminders in any or all of these formats -- but not just to the patient. The reminders can also go to a trusted family member and/or the provider. These can be easily programmed on the company website. You load up a month's worth of medications, and on you go. Or, if you forget to load up the medicines, you can have an alert about that."
I visited Eran today, curious as to how things were going. The design of the pillbox (now called Maya) has been upgraded, and it is now for sale in some retails outlets as well as through some insurers and providers. He reports that adherence to medication regimes for patients using the device averages about 92%, well above that reported by people in the pharmacy benefit field.
Eran has also developed a portable medication holder/reminder (lower picture), which also works off of cell phone signals, for when people are away from home for a short period of time.
I have no financial interest in this product or company, but I do have a personal interest as someone who wants to improve the management of patient care. It seems to me that this kind of elegant device would especially be of interest to those physician groups that have signed global or other risk contracts. The relatively modest cost of the pillbox and its cellphone service would be recovered many fold by enhancing the likelihood of adherence with prescribed drugs, avoiding the much higher cost of hospital admissions and readmissions.