One in three adults fail to take medicine prescribed by their doctor. This puts a strain on the economy as people are re-hospitalised, suffer from complications, progressive disease and death.
Now a sensor necklace that records the date and time a pill is swallowed has been devised by researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology.
The MagneTrace, designed by Maysam Ghovanloo, assistant professor in the school of electrical and computer engineering, and graduate student Xueliang Huo, could also be used to ensure that subjects in clinical drug trials take the study medications as directed by a research team.
The prototype necklace contains an array of magnetic sensors that could be used to detect when specially designed medication containing a magnet passes through a person's oesophagus.
The date and time that the user swallowed the pill can be recorded on a handheld wireless device, such as a smart phone, carried on the user's body.
The information can then be sent to the patient's doctor, carer or family member over the internet. The device can notify the patient and their doctor if the prescribed dose is not taken at the correct time.
The magnetic sensors on the necklace are distributed in different orientations, so the pill can be detected regardless of its orientation when it passes through the patient's oesophagus.
The sensors are driven by a control unit on the necklace that consists of a battery, power management circuitry, low-power microcontroller and a radiofrequency wireless transceiver.
Secret monitor: sensor necklace records time and date pill is swallowed