The orb is a desktop sized frosted-glass ball that can be set to glow different colours based on pre-programmed situations. In the Partners Telemedicine study, the orb is set at green to indicate "normal", and when it's time for the patient to take his/her medication, it will turn red. Once the medication has been taken, the Smart Pillbox will send a signal that tells the orb the patient has taken the set action, in this case the medication, and the orb will again turn back to green.
According to a recent report by the World Health Organization titled "Adherence to Long-term Therapies: Evidence for Action", 50 percent of patients with chronic disease do not take their medication as prescribed. As the study notes, poor adherence has a significant negative economic impact and leads to increasingly poor health outcomes for patients.
While there are medication adherence solutions that involve the use of PDAs and text messaging for cell phones, the reality is not everyone is technologically savvy enough to use those devices. And, even for those that are, it's very easy to delete a message or turn off an alarm. The idea behind the orb is to create an unobtrusive way to alert patients an action needs to be taken, with the hope being that this gentle reminder will encourage more people to adhere to doctor's prescription recommendations.
In addition to the patient having an orb, his or her caretaker can have also have one in their home, on their desk at work, or both, so they too know that their loved one is taking their medicine.
"The goal of this connected health programme is to empower patients to self-manage their care and help them to make appropriate lifestyle choices to improve their quality of life, and one of the best ways we've been able to do that is by leveraging technology", stated Joseph C. Kvedar, M.D., Director, Partners Telemedicine. "By creating a non-invasive way to remind patients to take their medication, we have taken the first step in addressing a growing problem that affects people's health every day. We chose to use Claricode to develop this solution because of their demonstrated understanding of health care technology. We are looking forward to seeing the effects this technology implementation has on our participants."
"We've seen an increase in interest from our clients for solutions that integrate existing technologies in novel ways in order to enable people to maintain healthier lifestyles", stated Claricode Managing Partner Andrew Needleman. "Often times they come to us with an idea or a vision and it's up to us to make that a reality, which was the case with Partners Telemedicine's recent project. We think the Smart Pillbox/Orb initiative has great potential."
Partners Telemedicine is specialized in the use of technology to deliver quality patient care outside of the hospital or doctor's office, applying consumer technologies and on-line resources - such as the Internet, cell phones, digital cameras and sensors - in innovative ways to increase access and improve care for patients when and where it is needed. Partners Telemedicine is connecting medical specialists with patients - in their homes, offices and around the world - to better manage and monitor patient health, offer expert second opinions and provide convenient, personalized medical care. Partners Telemedicine is part of Partners HealthCare, a Boston-based integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Claricode builds integrated enterprise technology solutions exclusively for the health care industry, focusing on creating applications that simplify complex medical work flows. To date, Claricode has developed solutions for clients in the following areas: wound telehealth, hypertension adherence, on-line consultation, telemedicine and managed care, among others.