U of M is testing 'smart' tablets to give cancer patients a nudge

In a test project with pharmacists from Fairview Health and manufacturer Proteus Digital Health, pharmacists at University of Minnesota Health are attaching digital sensors to chemotherapy drugs to detect when cancer patients are forgetting or falling behind on tumor-killing medications.
Smart tablets have been used to improve "medication adhere

In a test project with pharmacists from Fairview Health and manufacturer Proteus Digital Health, pharmacists at University of Minnesota Health are attaching digital sensors to chemotherapy drugs to detect when cancer patients are forgetting or falling behind on tumor-killing medications.
Smart tablets have been used to improve "medication adherence" for patients with heart problems or mental disorders, but the university became the first to test their effectiveness with oral chemotherapy. The technology could significantly improve cancer care because the timing and dosage of chemotherapy is critical, notes Edward Greeno, MD, who directs the university's oncology service line. "The therapy window—the difference between what's too much and too little—can be pretty narrow," he says. "You want to know [the drugs are] being given right." Ingestible sensors are affixed to the tablets, then send signals to receiver patches that patients wear on their stomachs. The receivers send the drug-consumption information to patients' mobile phones and to doctors' medical records. Approximately177,000 Proteus digital sensors have been swallowed with medication to date. The system works because so many people rely on mobile phones, and will respond to alerts or "behavioral nudges" from them to take their medication, says Proteus CEO Andrew Thompson.