The IEM mobile app runs on Android-based smartphones, but Savage said Proteus expects to have a version available for Apple's iOS next year. The company also expects to expand the range of applications that can work with the sensor to support different patient scenarios relating to specific therapeutic areas, patient living situations, or the population of customers using the sensor and digital medical system, he said.
Proteus already has run a number of clinical trials with the IEM in various populations and reports positive feedback, with "people seeing enormous value in what the technology can offer," Savage said. There have been some red flags raised over the potentially invasive nature of integrating a digital tracking device into a medication. Topol said that these concerns are "legitimate." The IEM is "an option and new emerging choice that will be out here for some patients and some circumstances."
Savage said inclusion in pills is certainly not the only use for the IEM or the rest of his company's digital medical system. "The technology platform can be used to create an array of different products for different customers," he said. "We expect most of the products to target people suffering from chronic illness and their support team -- family caregivers, clinicians, etc."
Proteus will launch the first commercial IEM and related digital health system in the UK this year. FDA approval has paved the way for use in the US in the near future.
"Legitimate users of this technology should have no objections" So if I have an objection, that makes me a criminal?
Yes, Pollyanna, and the only people who need civil rights are criminals. That ranks right up there with "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear from police".
Doesn't anybody think this is a little too Orwellian?
"Citizen, ingest your soma immediately or we'll send somebody to do it for you."
"You, with the green sweater, take your herpes medication immediately!"
"Sir, please hold your license up for me to inspect, I don't want to touch it on account of what you're taking medication for!"
"Whoa, look what this guy's taking pills for!"
If the patient has the ability to make an informed decision because they believe the technology is of benefit, without them being forced to accept the monitoring as a condition for receiving treatment, then great, I'm all for it. If the FDA mandates the tech has to go into every pill, then the implications are cause for concern, to put it mildly.
I think the privacy matters are definitely a concern and I'm sure those criminals seeking to take advantage of the system can and will find a means to do so. I suppose this risk will always be wth us. I will say this though, my parents are 90 years old and something as uncomplicated to most people under the age of 70 can be quite cumbersome when you are 75 + and in marginal health. Each weekend I call my parents to make sure they have "loaded" their pill boxs. We go over each medication day by day to insure they have the proper number of medications and the proper medications for the week. It would be marvelous if such a device as the one mentioned could actually be approved by the FDA. It would mean that after my Sunday call, I could be assured they actually took the pills. Having a "download" to my tablet or computer on a daily basis would provide me with information AND "hard copy" if needed for their doctors to study. I can imagine this being a real help if parents and their children live in differing cities, states, countries, etc. I think this is a great idea and one project that should be continued.
I would tend to agree with your statement about older persons vs. younger persons. No argument.
Regarding my other (just an opinion) regarding objections on privacy, I have nothing concrete to give you except my life experiences with un-warranted objections from the mis-informed, often over speculative issues that don't really exist, crying foul over the slightest implication of Big-Brother getting into their personal space. I don't buy into that level of privacy, and accordingly, I do not object, (for example) to being screened at an airport before boarding an aircraft.
My point being, I don't see anything to "cry foul" over ,,,,, yet someone always does.
I'm not really concerned about security, as the signal to the patch is bio-electrochemical and virtually undetectable to the outside. As for the patch-smartphone app link, people talk on their cell phones all day long without worry, and I guarantee it is easier to intercept a voice call rather than a short, encrypted data burst. Quite a lot of things would have to be perfectly optimal to pose a security risk.
I know that elderly patients often lose track of their medications but -- yikes! -- 50% of the medications prescribed by doctors are never taken? That's an amazing statistic. If I hadn't seen that statistic, I might be inclined to wonder why this technology is needed.
Research shows that the real divide on privacy concerns is primarily that older people are more often concerned, and younger people are less often concerned. Do you have any information to support your rather strange assertion?
This looks like an improvement, in terms of size anyway, on ingestible medical devices like the swallowable endoscope we reported on before http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1365&doc_id=231318 although that one had to incorporate a camera.
Those commercials are horrible. But you're right, Beth, once you have the signal from the pill to the patch, there are any number of ways to deliver that data to something compatible with an elderly lifestyle.
If the scanners for these medications become widely available to the underground, people could be targeted for their medications. Criminal walks into a shopping mall, detects that someone is ingesting some type of "desirable" painkiller and follows them to a non-public area or their home?
Good point, Rob. The smart phone and apps make the package all the more compelling, but there can be modifications to the design to support more traditional and accessible (to the elderly, that is) devices. I'm thinking a link to those devices eldery can wear that they can use to contact someone in the event that they fall and can't get up (Come on, we've all seen those commercials).
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.