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    Five ways technology can increase patient compliance


    "Smart" pills

    AmbresAmbresTechnology can improve medication adherence. Smart pills equipped with sensors and cameras are in the early use stages to help with diagnostics and administer medications, Ambres reports.

    Ingestible sensors and electronic pill bottles or boxes can record when patients ingest a medication or open a medication container and remotely monitor their adherence with more granularity. For example, the time a patient actually takes the medication can be time stamped, providing a remote version of directly observed therapy.

    “Other methods of monitoring medication adherence such as pill counts, medication diaries, or questionnaires are fraught with bias,” Osterberg says. “These electronic methods have given us a better understanding of a patient’s medication taking behavior. Although they have typically been used for research, as prices have improved they’re now starting to be used in clinical settings to monitor patient adherence more accurately and develop interventions that can help patients improve medication taking behavior.”

    Gut surveillance applications are one of the most promising technologies in this area, in that they will greatly augment the efficacy of colonoscopies and in some instances, with proper preparation, may replace them in the future, Ambres says.

    The wave of the future

    The healthcare industry is already using many forms of technology to improve patient engagement and compliance. As technology continues to advance, expect to see its scope expand in ways never thought possible. Meanwhile, it will continue to grow in popularity as patients become more tech savvy and intrigued by its capabilities.


    Karen Appold is a medical writer in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.


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