Medication Reminders - Tech Savvy Top 5

Alex Bettencourt - May 17, 2010

Medication reminders, who needs ‘em? Well, when two-thirds of Americans currently use some form of medicine, (49 percent use prescription drugs and 30 percent use nonprescription medications), reminders aren’t such a bad idea.

In fact they should be the solution we should all focus on when the number one problem for treating illness today is because of patient noncompliance, at every age. In order to fix this problem, medication reminders have become more technologically advanced. Some of the latest innovations include the Tattletale Pill, the MagneTrace necklace , Pill Pets, and various smartphone medication reminder applications.

1. The Tattetale Pill
Its name gives away its most basic function; it tells on you when you forget your pills. Caregivers, family, friends, and anyone else helping you manage your health are alerted when a dose is missed. How is this possible? The Tattletale Pill is not necessarily a pill, but a capsule that contains tiny digestible antennas and a microchip the size of a period.

Sounds like a seamless solution right? There are still a few catches. The user must wear a small electronic device which signals a cell phone or laptop and powers the pill through faint bursts of extremely low-voltage electricity. As time passes, the antenna breaks down from the user’s stomach acid, and the microchip is passed along out of the digestive system.Some challenges of this pill include there is no way to tell if the pill was swallowed by a pet or someone else. Many speculate the TattleTale Pill could also lead to extreme government interference and Big Brother monitoring of medication compliance.

2. MagneTrace
MagneTrace, the second most technologically advanced medication reminder on our list is a sensor necklace which records the exact time and date when specially-designed pills are swallowed. It also reminds the user if any doses are being missed. How does it do this? The necklace has an array of magnetic sensors to detect when the pill has passed through a person’s esophagus.

Unfortunately, this can only be tested on specially-designed magnetic pills which aren’t available on the market. If the necklace isn’t right for you, the MagneTrace patch is also available and can be attached to the chest. When the user swallows their pill, it is immediately recorded on a handheld wireless device like a smart phone. This gives caregivers, doctors, and anyone else on your health team an accurate report on your medication management.

Although MagneTrace is a great solution for medication noncompliance, it too has some downsides. It only works with pills that have magnetic capsules or have a tiny magnet in them. For those of you concerned with having a small magnet inside your body, don’t fret because the magnet used in the capsule is only three millimeters in diameter and about one millimeter thick. It is covered with a thick coat of indigestible polymers to prevent magnetic absorption and aggregation. This sensor necklace also has not been tested on animals or humans, so currently it’s not on the market.

3. Electronic Pill Dispensers
Other tech savvy medication reminders, which are on the market, are special pill dispensing devices. Many of them can monitor and adjust medication dosages wirelessly, which allows doctors to tailor drug dosage without having to schedule in-person visits with patients. To see a few examples, read our review on medication home device reminders.

4. Pill Pets
Our fourth favorite tech-savvy medication reminder is Pill Pets. They are a fun and futuristic alternative if wireless pills and bulky magnetic necklaces aren’t for you. Pill Pets come with a computerized screen which displays special instructions for each medication. You can note whether a pill has to be taken with food or if it has any side effects to look out for. Pill Pet robots are a fun solution for someone who always wants their gadgets to be on the cutting edge.

5. Mobile Health Apps.
If you’re still hesitant on what type of tech savvy medication reminder to get, you can start off with one for your smart phone. Mobile health applications are becoming increasingly popular. In 2014 Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley predicts there will be 2,776 MM 3G global users, this means 43% of global population! In North America 260,575,000 people are expected to have smart phones. Seventy-four percent of the US population will be able to browse the web and receive medication reminders instantly. Some common mobile medication reminders include:

MediMemory - This is for the iPhone and is your most basic personal medication monitoring and management application.

e-Pill Mobile - A medication reminder and medication history software program. This only runs on a personal digital assistant (PDA) under Windows Pocket PC, but it stores up to 48 daily medication reminders.

Pill Boxer – This virtual pillbox is only for the iPhone and iPod Touch has a database of some 11,000 FDA approved medications for easy data entry and research.

RememberItNow! –Yours truly offers more than just medication reminders. RememberItNow! mobile is available on any smart phone and comes with your private personal health record, health charts, a wellness journal, contacts, medical history, and more. It’s easy eHealth on-the-go.

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