There are many reasons patients don’t take their medications and some of them include: fear, cost, misunderstanding, too many, lack of symptoms, worry, depression; and, mistrust (of clinicians). Many companies have invested millions in developing apps, monitoring devices and websites to dissect and proactively try to monitor the patient in hopes that they can determine when and why patients don’t take their medications.
Medication only works when taken
For certain medication therapies, one on one observation may be the only way to verify compliance. A utopian solution would allow for the clinician to physically observe the patient taking their medications; however, this is neither logistically feasible nor cost effective.
The industry is looking at several options to address this last mile. There are companies investing in technologies that allow for a tracking device in an ingested medication but most critics and supporters agree, given our lengthy FDA review, that these types of devices wont likely see market launch for 10-20 years. In the interim we are looking at technologies that utilize existing mediums for observation: video, LAN line phone, and mobile phones. These vehicles offer a cost effective, wide spread usage and general reliability; however; if we continue to rely on the patient to self-report, are we actually making progress? The healthcare industry needs a solution that is readily available now for the most chronic care patients. Remote active medication administration observation is the solution for today…perhaps in the future we can look forward to automated compliance monitoring IN our medications with a ‘smart pill’. Today we should be looking to insert current technologies in the patient homes that need it the most. Why are we continuing to ignore the last mile in medication therapy compliance?