NEW YORK -- New technology is helping people keep better track of whether they've taken their daily medications.
It looks simple, yet the so-called smart pill bottle knows more than you think.
"Patients just aren't taking their meds," AdhereTech CEO Josh Stein said. "It's one of the the biggest problems in health care."
So with the twist of its cap and the signal of a white light, Adheretech's smart pill bottle knows you have taken your medication. If not, it signals with a blue light and an alarm that you missed the time to take it.
"We've put cell phone technology inside of a pill bottle," Stein said. "This bottle, no matter where it goes on the planet, sends us little pings. It basically tells us when and if a patient is taking their meds."
It then sends the information to your health care provider and even a message to your cell phone. Stein and his partners are working with hospitals to provide the bottles to patients taking expensive medication.
"Figure out ways that we can make it easier for the patient to make sure they take their medication," hepatologist Dr. Ponni Perumalswami said.
At the Icahn School of Medicine at the Mount Sinai Hospital, five patients are being treated for hepatitis C, receiving a medication called Harvoni that costs $1,100 a pill.
"Every pill certainly counts," Dr. Perumalswami said. "Given the effectiveness of the pill, the cost of the treatment, we really want to make sure we get every patient started on these medications cured."
As part of a study, the patients are given their medication in the smart pill bottle.
"Every time I, as a patient, take my medication, my provider can know if I did that," clinical psychologist Jeffrey Weiss said. "And that sort of connection with the provider is one of the important things that really drives Adherence on patients parts."
AdhereTech also partners with pharmacies to provide the smart bottle free of charge and in use in clinical trials. It is also working on ways to bring it to a wider range of patients.