Last month, Vitality made their GlowCap pill container caps available for direct-to-consumer purchase from CVS. The company has also been quietly developing a new product, the Vitality GlowPack, a customizable pouch which provides similar functionality to the GlowCap. The advantage to the GlowPack is that it can be used it for medications larger than pills.
CVS Caremark and Vitality GlowCaps are also working together to in a new randomized control trial using GlowCaps to test the effectiveness of sweepstakes to improve medication adherence.
GlowCaps, the music-making, glowing, cellular-connected caps designed to help people remember to take their pills, are a high-profile product in connected health. GlowCap lights up and plays music to remind users to take their pills and sends a signal to a reminder light. If the user still misses a dose, the system will call their phone. Also, GlowCaps sport a refill button that, when pressed, uses AT&T cellular connectivity to contact the user’s pharmacy to request a refill. The customer than receives an automatic callback to confirm the refill. A study with Partners Healthcare Centers for Connected Health in June 2011 showed that GlowCaps allowed a group of hypertensive patients to achieve 98 percent medication adherence.
The new study, led by the University of Pennsylvania, along with Carnegie Mellon University and Rutgers University, will include 800 high-cholesterol participants in four groups. Each group, including the control group, will use Vitality GlowCaps to remind them to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins, but each experiment group will also be enrolled in a different kind of sweepstakes. For one group, participants will have the chance to win money each time they remember to take their medication. One group will be eligible to win only if they take their medication prior to be reminded. A third group will accumulate money in an account each time they successfully take their medication on time, but the account will only pay out if they reach a certain adherence level. Recruitment for the study starts this month and data collection for the study concludes in August 2016.
Vitality offered the WiFi-connected version of the GlowCap directly to consumer when it originally released the product in 2009, for $99 via Amazon.com, and distributed the AT&T cellular-connected version the same way in 2011. Shortly after that, the company was acquired by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Health.
At some point after the acquisition, Amazon stopped selling GlowCaps, and the company focused instead on selling to pharmaceutical companies and self-insured employers (having previously done pilots with at least four pharmaceutical companies). But, as MobiHealthNews mentioned in our recent writeup on medication adherence technology, the Wall Street Journal reported in January that the company would began selling via a major undisclosed retailer in February — that retailer seems to be CVS. The GlowCaps are available at CVS.com for a discounted price of $59.99, with the regular price listed at $79.99. In addition, there is a monthly fee for the AT&T service.
The company’s new product GlowPack — which is at least a year old now — is a connected sealable pouch which can store blister packs, inhalers, injectable solutions, liquid medicines, and topical ointments. It is currently in beta, but the company is advertising the product to potential pilot partners. Like the GlowCap, the device glows and plays music when it’s time for a user to take his or her medication. It also communicates with the same reminder light that the GlowCap uses, and includes the refill button. The GlowPack has a replaceable battery and is also connected via AT&T. A demonstration video of the product, apparently intended for pharmaceutical partners, is available on Vimeo.