Ingestible Sensor Detects Medication Adherence

JANUARY 18, 2015
Can you imagine a clinical trial in which patients do not need to document whether they have taken their medication? Consider the accuracy of an ingestible sensor that detects when a dose has been taken and then sends a message to a wearable patch that is integrated with a software system for immediate documentation.
Proteus Digital Health has formed an alliance with Oracle, and together, they have developed and launched a system that includes such an integrated software program, wearable patch, and ingestible pill. When implemented, this system has the power to track adherence to a medication regimen with >99% accuracy.
The sensor is tiny enough to be added to a pill when it is still being manufactured. It may be combined with the tablet in powder form or added during the capsule filling process. During the system's trial period, more than 400 participants ingested more than 20,000 sensors over a 90-day period. 
This level of adherence monitoring has the potential for adding a new level of accuracy to clinical trials. Traditionally, clinical trials rely on patients to document their adherence to the trial regimen. Then, concomitant diagnostic testing is performed to measure the results.

With this digital health feedback system, Proteus claims, clinical trial investigators will now be able to quickly and accurately measure adherence statistics related to medication ingestion time and clinical response. Currently, the system is being marketed specifically as described: the sensor is to be utilized as an adherence tool to more accurately measure clinical trials.
As a practicing community pharmacist faced with patient medication adherence issues on a daily basis, I am interested in this application in the community setting. Someday, perhaps, there may be an integrated system such as this for medication adherence monitoring in all patients.

Steve Leuck, PharmD
Steve Leuck, PharmD
Steve Leuck, PharmD, has been practicing both hospital and community pharmacy for over 30 years. He founded AudibleRx, in 2011, which provides Consumer Medication Information which is both Useful and Accessible. Content designed to meet health literacy guidelines. Format designed to "read along" with the audio presentation in a simple to use web application. More information at