The Internet of Health: NHS 'could save money and lives with smart devices'

Acqueon calls for the adoption of connected pill boxes to help NHS improve patient care and reduce costs

200,000 deaths occur in Europe every year because people fail to take their medication properly

An epidemic of medication non-compliance is causing thousands of unnecessary deaths and costing the NHS over £500m a year.

However, the NHS lacks the resources to check each individual patient is taking their pills at the right time.

As a result, many are not taking their medication correctly – leading to 200,000 premature deaths in Europe each year.

Digital transformation initiatives can be complex and costly, but this kind of connected solution is more straightforward to implement and offers immediate and tangible results

One way that greater medication compliance could be achieved is by embracing the Internet of Things (IoT). A connected, smart pill box can provide a cost-effective way of ensuring patients are taking the right medicine at the right time – without the need for human interaction, claims technology firm, Acqueon.

25% of the UK’s citizens will be over 65 by 2045 and this patient group is often taking a number of different medications at the same time. As a result of this ‘polypharmacy’, the problem of pill non-compliance is only likely to rise.

Smart pill boxes could make a huge difference to the NHS and help to overcome these challenges.

A smart pill box knows when it hasn’t been opened and medication has not been taken and sends automated reminders via a set number of phone calls and texts to the patient.

If reminders go answered or the pill box still not opened, the device can then escalate cases to a clinician who can then check on the patient directly.

This results in a dramatic decrease in wastage and ensures human intervention only happens if necessary, freeing up staff to devote more time to frontline care.

“IoT connected pill boxes can make a huge difference to patient outcomes and help to save lives,” said Ashish Koul, president of Acqueon.

“With the NHS under huge pressure – which is only likely to increase with the fallout from Brexit and our aging population – it can help free up money, that can be channelled to parts of the health service where it is needed most.

The NHS cannot afford to ignore tech solutions like this IoT pill box in order to help it find the cost savings required to stay viable and offer first-class care

“We are already seeing a huge uptake in consumer smart health devices and wearables, proving there is an interest in these technologies.

“The NHS can build on this existing appeal to the public through adopting devices such as an IoT-connected pill box.”

He added: “Given that 65% of people said they missed taking medication by forgetting about it, IoT pill boxes are potentially an easy win for the NHS.

“Digital transformation initiatives can be complex and costly, but this kind of connected solution is more straightforward to implement and offers immediate and tangible results.

“The NHS cannot afford to ignore tech solutions like this IoT pill box in order to help it find the cost savings required to stay viable and offer first-class care.”

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