Digital Pills Could Help Improve Medication Adherence

Ingestible digital pills are being touted as an innovative way to improve prescription drug adherence and monitor health conditions, Kaiser Health News reports (Browning, Kaiser Health News, 12/15).


In 2012, FDA approved the first ingestible medical device pill (iHealthBeat, 8/3/12). However, digital pills are not yet available on the market and are still being tested in pilot projects.

Digital Pill Details

Ingestible digital pills are placebos containing tiny sensors — called nanomeds –that individuals swallow. The sensors are activated as they work their way through individuals’ bodies and come in contact with saliva and gastric juices. Once the ingested sensors are activated, another sensor that is worn on a patient’s chest receives the nanomeds’ signal. According to KHN, the digital pills can track:

  • Heart rate;
  • Medication adherence; and
  • Other data.

The data can be transmitted to individuals’ smartphones or tablets via a Bluetooth signal and can also be automatically sent to providers, caregivers or family members. Andrew Thompson — CEO of Proteus Digital Health, which manufactures nanomeds — said that the goal is to allow consumers “to switch on their own health care, creating critical information that can be used to ensure they and their doctors make positive decisions about use of medicines and personal health choices” (Kaiser Health News, 12/15).

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