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World’s First Electronic Smart Pill Approved By The FDA

(Source: Proteus Digital Health)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has shocked everyone by giving the go-ahead to the world’s first electronic smart pill. The function of the pill is to track if the patients are taking their medicines properly. It will allow the patients to willingly give access to the information gathered by the pill to their doctors, family members or caretakers.

The electronic smart pill is called Abilify MyCite. It has a tiny sensor made of copper, magnesium, and silicon and is no bigger than a grain of sand. Abilify is a drug that is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. The sensor inside the pill becomes active once it reaches the stomach and comes into contact with the stomach acid.

(Source: Proteus Digital Health)

The data transmitted by the pill is collected by a patch the patient wears on the left rib. This patch connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth. The tracker then displays information like the time the pill was taken, the dosage, activity levels, sleep patterns, and heart rate on the screen.

Even though the electronic smart pill has a number of apparent advantages, but what does it mean for a privacy of the patient? There are always going to be a number of factions that will be willing to abuse the technology and use it for their own personal gain.

There is a staggering cost of not taking the medication properly. A report from IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics estimates that the cost of patients not taking their medication correctly is about $100 billion each year. Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer of the health plan division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center told the New York Times“When patients don’t adhere to lifestyle or medications that are prescribed for them, there are really substantive consequences that are bad for the patient and very costly.”

As this technology is relatively new, there are no proper guidelines for proper usage. Privacy advocates have raised the concern that it could steal the patient’s ability to make their own medical decisions. Widespread use could also put patients’ private medical records at risk.

Monitoring health from inside the patient’s body could open new avenues for treatment. It could, however, also open new doors for misuse and abuse and we need to make sure that the security technology makes the same leaps as other technologies.

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