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UNM Technology Will Help Patients with Medication Compliance

A new wireless medication monitor that allows for real-time reporting of medication administration to all individuals involved in the patient’s care is being developed by Dr. Jason McConville, associate professor in UNM’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The device is capable of monitoring medication as it is removed from the packaging. The data can be stored locally with a time and date stamp for each removed dosage of medicine, or it can transmit an event code to a remote computer for storage.  In addition, the monitoring system can be used to alert the patient to take his/her medication at the appropriate time and day. This technology allows providers and family members to monitor patient medication adherence in real time.  ASD Healthcare has optioned the technology from STC and has a sponsored-research agreement with Dr. McConville to develop and commercialize the monitor.  See Elizabeth Sanchez’ August 30, 2016 article, “UNM professor designs prescription reminder device,” from DailyLobo.com, reprinted below.

UNM professor designs prescription reminder device

By Elizabeth Sanchez

Each year, roughly 3.8 billion prescriptions are written in the United States. However, according to Medscape — an online heath care news aggregate — less than half of prescription drugs are taken correctly, if at all.

UNM Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics Jason McConville may have a solution.

McConville and former student, Michael Bernauer, have submitted a pending patent through the UNM College of Pharmacy for a wireless medical monitor. McConville described the device as a reusable, rechargeable and cost-effective chip that can be inserted into any medical blister pack.

If a pill has not been removed from the pack on time, the device can send medication reminder alerts to a patient’s smartphone, he said. In addition, the monitor can determine if a patient has taken too much of their medication, and health care physicians can be notified.

“It’s not like the normal available phone apps or notification systems that are simply glorified alarm clocks. It actually knows when you’ve taken the medicine or not and will continue to remind you,” McConville said.

Renee Salazar, a graduate student studying pharmacy, heard about the new device in one of her classes this semester.

“I have seen firsthand how forgetful patients can be when it comes to taking their medication, especially those that are extremely crucial: high blood pressure, cholesterol, etcetera,” said Salazar, who has been a pharmacy technician for two years. “(Patients) are on these medications for specific reasons given by their doctor and pharmacist. We are only human, sometimes we forget things.”

When patients do not take their medication correctly, they can place themselves at a high risk for negative consequences, such as re-hospitalization, which costs health care systems millions of dollars annually, McConville said.

He said he feels the new device may not only remind patients to take their medications correctly. It may also lead to pharmacy refills on repeat prescriptions before the patient has finished a packet, large-scale clinical trials without the need for physically present patients, better monitoring of patients’ limited or excessive use of a drug and physicians reminding patients to discard hazardous expired drugs.

Feliz Archuleta, a graduate student studying pharmacy, said the new device may also help physicians determine root causes of why a medication was taken incorrectly.

“This is where the pharmacist and doctor can better educate patients and explain things in a way that is patient-specific,” she said.

Salazar also sees the device as a promotion of the patient-physician interaction “that we are slowly losing,” especially when it comes to discussing uncomfortable side effects or any personal reasons for not taking prescribed drugs, she said.

“It is the job of the doctor and pharmacist to ensure the patient can approach them with any questions or concerns they may have about their medications,” Salazar said. “If the patient is experiencing problems, (the system may alert) health care providers, so they may counsel and find another means of treatment, instead of the patient completely stopping their medication. It has positives on both ends.”

McConville said current prototypes have been successful and easy to use. Twelve units of 3D printed prototypes will be used in a small-scale human study in early 2017. The official product release date will be determined by UNM’s industry partner, ASD Healthcare.

Source: http://www.dailylobo.com/article/2016/08/medication-reminder