Patient Study Shows Adherence Boost With Electronic Pill Bottle

The Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners Healthcare (Boston), announced initial findings from a medication adherence study, using a wireless electronic pill bottle to remind patients with high blood pressure to take their medication. The ongoing study measured a 27% higher rate of medication adherence in patients using Internet-connected medication packaging and feedback services compared to controls.

The randomized controlled study assessed the impact of the wireless GlowCap developed by Vitality, Inc. GlowCaps fit popular pill bottles and signal patients with light and sound when it is time to take the medication inside. An embedded wireless connection enables the GlowCap to respond to the patient with automated calls for any missed dose, weekly progress reports, and refill reminders. GlowCaps also share adherence with physicians and a social network if the patient chooses.
 
“As healthcare providers, we must find strategies that help patients become more adherent to their medications and care plans,” said Alice Watson, MD, MPH, Center for Connected Health. “We are extremely encouraged by these interim results, showing a high rate of adherence in users of the GlowCap system.”

In total, one hundred and thirty nine patients diagnosed with hypertension and taking an anti-hypertensive medication were enrolled in a six month study starting in August 2009. Participants were required to have Internet access and an email account to receive reports.
 
Each participant was randomized into one of three groups: those in the control group did not receive any communication or GlowCap services; the intervention group received visual and audio reminders from the GlowCap as well as missed dose reminder phone calls, medication refill reminders and progress reports emailed to the patient, family member, and /or their primary care provider. Participants in an intervention-plus group additionally received a financial incentive if they exceeded a monthly adherence goal of 80%.
 
Three month interim analysis shows study participants in the intervention and intervention-plus group achieved adherence rates of 98% and 99%, respectively. This was significantly higher than the control group, which had an adherence rate of 71%.
 
 The study is also measuring blood pressure control and subject satisfaction. Final analysis of the study is anticipated this fall.
 
“GlowCaps use real-time feedback loops to act on a number of behavioral motivators: reminders, doctor accountability, social support and help with refills,” said David Rose, Chief Executive Officer, Vitality. "These are instructive findings for pharmaceutical manufacturers and payors who have a vested interest in improving patient outcomes with their products and services.”

Vitality’s wireless GlowCaps motivate people to take their medications as prescribed using social feedback, reminders, caregiver support, and automated pharmacy refills. www.vitality.net
 
The Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners HealthCare, is creating effective, new solutions and innovative interventions to deliver quality patient care outside of the traditional medical setting, the company said.
 
Programs use a combination of remote-monitoring technology, sensors, and online communications and intelligence to improve patient adherence, engagement and clinical outcomes. The Center also offers expert online second opinions, enhanced medical education and training, and engages in innovative research to discover new pathways to better care, including the use of virtual worlds and online coaching. Visit www.connected-health.org.
 
Partners HealthCare is an integrated health system founded in 1994 by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners system also includes community and specialty hospitals, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health-related entities. Partners is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners is a non-profit organization. Visit www.partners.org.
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