Boston-Area Tech Tells People to Take Their Meds, Targets Billions in Wasted Healthcare Spending

Xconomy Boston — 

It’s tough to find an excuse for forgetting to take your medications nowadays. And if you’re thinking of a good excuse right now, chances are that companies and technologists in the Boston area have already addressed it with an information technology invention.

Poor adherence to medications has been a bugaboo in the healthcare system for a long time. When sick patients don’t take their meds, they often get even sicker and end up in the hospital. The problem is expensive because of all the extra care these patients need. So it has caught the attention of entrepreneurs from MIT and physicians affiliated with Harvard Medical School, leading to the creation of several IT devices or services that are gaining more traction in the healthcare field.

Eran Shavelsky, for one, says he formed his Newton, MA-based startup, MedMinder Systems, after learning about the challenge of getting patients to take their medications while he attended the Sloan School of Management at MIT several years ago. In May, his firm launched an electronic pill box called “Maya” that uses wireless technology and sensors to alert patents with chronic diseases when they don’t take their pills on time.

Health insurance companies have a reason to pay attention to such efforts: patients who don’t take their medicine when they’re supposed to cost the U.S. healthcare system a mind-boggling … Next Page »

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4 responses to “Boston-Area Tech Tells People to Take Their Meds, Targets Billions in Wasted Healthcare Spending”

  1. On the Vitality product, Express Scripts has also started a pilot program to see how it works.

    Even the Colbert Report picked up on it as well.

    There are potential privacy issues here to at least be entertained and discussed with use as we are now moving towards devices reporting data and it’s not all human input. The convenience of the product is great and a real tool for reminders, but what does it produce for “marketable” and medication information to be “for sale” for the consumer is something I question.

    Data from pharmacy benefit managers is sold for profit and used for behaviority underwriting in forecasting risk, and thus so it could in a round about way impact what premiums could be charged as well, and the final question is that sometimes you have 3rd party involvement here too, and with use you have a choice and most sites indicate that there are in fact 3rd parties involved her too so you can with a few clicks give up some privacy without even realizing it.

    Again, the benefits of having a reminder are great and useful, but what happens to the data that is created outside the structure of the patient needs and what further analytic information is derived and for what use is sometimes a pretty gray area and the consumer should know all parameters so there’s no surprises later on.

    Devices and their capabilities are getting pretty exotic today and very data capable with reporting features for sure and I think sometimes are perhaps overlooked a bit when it comes to meaningful use as it is such an emerging area and everything is brand new.