New system dispenses pills and monitors patient adherence
Pill Connect has completed a £510,000 funding round with the support of entrepreneur, Jonathan Milner; Catapult Ventures; and Shallcross Partners, to take its electronic smart pill bottle to market.
The capital raised will enable Pill Connect to complete development of the design, electronics and software for submission to the regulatory authorities in both Europe and the US and continue through to commercial launch.
Pill Connect was developed to prompt patients to take their medications on time and to send a report back to their doctor to advise them of their patient’s adherence record.
The prompt comes from an app on their mobile phone which, when acknowledged, dispenses a pill or capsule from the bottle through the dispensing cap.
Should the patient not wish to take their medication due to illness or an adverse reaction they can respond through the app.
What is unique about the Pill Connect system, as well as providing a detailed adherence record, is that it allows for an immediate intervention by an automated notifications or phone call should the app not be activated.
This is particularly important in clinical trials where poor adherence can compromise the validity of the trial.
It is well known that compliance rapidly declines over time and in longer studies, especially lasting longer than nine months, adherence drops off significantly.
The Pill Connect system allows monitors to not only know when that happens, but to have the opportunity to intervene and talk to the person in real time and to assess what can be done to help them become more compliant.
The monitor has access to a complete dashboard covering the whole trial so that everyone involved can be advised in real time of the rate of compliance or issues which effect adherence.
Figures from the OECD Health Working Paper No.105 show that poor adherence contributes to nearly 200,000 premature deaths in Europe per year, with an estimated cost of €125 billion in avoidable hospitalisations, emergency care, and outpatient visits .
The Pill Connect system has already undergone several successful placebo trials which have proven the robustness of the system, the ability to influence better compliance in real time, and frictionless patient acceptance.
The Pill Connect dispenser mechanism and electronics are designed to fit as a cap onto a standard pill bottle. The capacity of the pill bottle will depend upon the pill size, but will have a minimum of 30 pills. The dispensing mechanism can be adjusted to handle pills or capsules of different sizes.
Preparation: The patient is shown in person or by video how the system works and how to load the app onto their mobile phone. They are then sent or collect the bottle of pills or capsules plus the Pill Connect cap. The patient then unscrews the cap of the pill bottle and screws on the smart cap. At this point the patient’s phone is then ‘paired’ with their bottle.
Patient use: The patient receives a reminder to take one pill or capsule or more via the app at a pre-determined time. The patient takes off the lid, responds to the reminder, and the medication is ejected from the bottle and the data is sent to a control centre.
Further prompts: If the patient does not respond to the app a text or call can be made, automatically or manually, to prompt adherence or find out more.
Side effects: If the patient is unwell or believes that they are suffering from a side effect of the medication they have the option to not take the pill and through the app tell the investigator or doctor why.
Comprehensive data: The doctor, monitor or administrator has comprehensive data on each patient’s dispensing pattern.
Safety: The smart cap is locked outside the prescribed times to prevent double dosing. However, the patient can unscrew the cap if they have left their phone behind or it is not charged. Should that occur a message will be sent – when connected again - to the monitors.