Last August, we reported on the initiation of clinical trials for the Med-eMonitor™ System. The system for electronically tracking medications for high-risk patients will now be available on store shelves and elderly Tennesseans will get first dibs.
The system, which costs about $60 per month, will be on the market in a few weeks, and about 270 elderly Tennesseans will be given the “smart pillboxes” as part of a Medicare program that aims to reduce hospitalizations.
“Some of our participants take up to 13 or 14 medications,” said Rachel Haltiwanger, vice president of Medicare Health Support Operations for Tennessee. “That can be overwhelming for anyone.”
Dr. Bruce Kehr, chairman and chief executive officer of InforMedix, the company that manufacturers the pillboxes, said studies have shown that more than 90 percent of people who use the smart pillbox take their medication as prescribed vs. 40 percent to 50 percent of people without the technology.
The Medicare program will target state residents who have diabetes and high blood pressure because they are at high risk for complications if their medication is not taken properly. Program officials say the expected reduction in hospitalizations should offset the cost of the program. In addition to reminding people to take their pills, the device also monitors patient health. For example, it will ask diabetics to enter their blood sugar levels. If levels are unsafe, health officials will be contacted.