Wireless Network Used To Help Patients Take Their Medicine - And More

Thursday, September 2nd 2010, 11:08 am
By: News On 6

By Dee Duren and Chris Howell, NewsOn6.com

TULSA, OK -- Ever have trouble remembering to take a pill? Lots of people do, and for some it can be a dangerous mistake.

Now your prescription bottle can phone you or send a text to say it's time to take your medicine.

A company called Vitality has designed a high-tech "medicine minder" that helps patients remember it's time to take medications. It uses AT&T wireless technology to keep patients on track.

It's one of several "connected devices" under development to improve peoples' daily lives using wireless network technology, according to AT&T consultant Andy Morgan.

"Pharmaceutical companies are very concerned about adherence, making sure that patients do take their medicines, make sure it's working right," Morgan said.

Vitality GlowCaps replace the regular plastic pill caps on prescription medication bottles with an "intelligent" version complete with lights and sound. After medication times and dosage are logged into the wireless network, the GlowCap is ready.

Supposed to take a pill at 6 a.m.? An orange light appears as the first reminder. If the cap isn't opened within an hour, the GlowCap starts to play a tune to get the patient's attention.

Still not enough? The wireless network will send a text, phone call or email - whichever method the patient or caregiver has requested.

Each time the pill bottled is opened, the data is recorded and sent to Vitality over the AT&T wireless network. The information is compiled and can be sent to caregivers, doctors and family members.

The Vitality GlowCap is only one of dozens of ways the company is using its wireless network to help people in their daily lives, Morgan said.

Some of the other connected devices the company is working on include chips that can be placed in dog collars so the animals can be tracked. A study is currently underway that places chips in the shoes of elderly people so health care experts can track when a person's walk becomes shaky enough to pose a danger of falling.

The wireless technology is also designed to be fairly effortless to the user, so that non-techie people can make use of it.

The Vitality GlowCap is expected to be more widely available later this year. Find out more about the product.