In what will no doubt be a slow start to a revolution the FDA has just announced the approval of the first digital pill (tiny ingestible sensor) that tracks the users’ medication intake and can feed results to a list of people including their doctor! The pill is from a company called Abilify MyCite that a user swallows and then that pill communicates with a patch on the patient’s arm.
The patch is then used to communicate with an App added to the patients’ smartphone. The patient chooses who to share information with, such as the Doctor, Family, etc. The Abilify MyCite Sensor is as tiny as a grain of sand and sits on the patient’s stomach.
The Abilify MyCite pill has a sensor made of silicon, copper, and magnesium, which will no doubt cause some controversy. It works by activating automatically once on contact with the stomachs acids.
The patch word on the body then sends data like the timing of each medication taken and the dosage to the patients’ smartphone app over Bluetooth. Interestingly the patch also records sleep patterns, how many steps taken per period and the patient’s heart rate, the patch needs to be replaced every seven days.
Up to five people can access the information chosen by the patient. This could include the patient’s doctor and up to four other people determined by the patient, including family members, can access the information with the same app. The patient can stop access to anyone at any time.
As Functional Medicine Practitioners prescribe some supplements, you can see how in the future being able to track how the patient takes the medications and also their aerobic activity could be a great thing.
One day I am sure this type of technology will be able to also monitor dietary intake, aerobic activity, meal sizes and so on. Having the ability to both the patient and the doctor to control this, would be an excellent way to track and also motivate patients.
Obviously, safety concerns would need to be addressed, but the more of these in use over the years will give some excellent data on a patients health.