Study: GlowCaps up adherence to 98 percent

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 23, 2010        

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Vitality's GlowCapsPartners Healthcare’s Center for Connected Health announced that Vitality’s GlowCap service raised medication adherence rates 27 percent for a group of hypertensive patients. The group using GlowCaps achieved 98 percent adherence, while another group using GlowCaps plus financial incentives hit 99 percent adherence.

For those that don’t know, here’s how Vitality describes GlowCaps: They “fit popular pill bottles and signal patients with light and sound when it is time to take the medication inside. An embedded wireless connection enables the GlowCap to respond to the patient with automated calls for any missed dose, weekly progress reports, and refill reminders. GlowCaps also share adherence with physicians and a social network if the patient chooses.”

The six month study began last August and included 139 patients diagnosed with hypertension and taking an anti-hypertensive medication.In order to receive reports, all participants were required to have Internet access and an email address. Participants were randomized into one of three groups: those in the control group did not receive any communication or GlowCap services; the intervention group received visual and audio reminders from the GlowCap as well as missed dose reminder phone calls, medication refill reminders and progress reports emailed to the patient, family member and /or their primary care provider. Participants in an intervention-plus group additionally received a financial incentive if they exceeded a monthly adherence goal of 80 percent.

The preliminary results include three months of analysis: Participants in the intervention and intervention-plus group achieved adherence rates of 98 percent and 99 percent, respectively, which was significantly higher than the control group, which had an adherence rate of 71 percent. The study is also measuring blood pressure control and subject satisfaction. The Center expects to publish more results from the study this fall.

Medication adherence is a huge problem for healthcare costs and care — each year millions of people fail to take medications as prescribed by their physicians, according to the Center for Connected Health. The World Health Organization estimates that adherence to daily medication averages 50 percent for those suffering from chronic conditions. A widely cited study by the New England Healthcare Institute recently calculated the costs resulting from non-adherence at $300 billion annually.

For more on the GlowCaps preliminary results, read the press release here