Are you forgetful about taking your meds?
Never fear! Enter the age of Digital Healthcare!
Here’s this new-fangled nifty little pill imbedded with a computer chip that’ll help you keep track of your meds! All because we just want to help you!
Erin Kim reports for CNN Money, Aug. 3, 2012, that a medical tech startup named Proteus Digital Health in the California S.F. Bay Area town of Redwood City, scored a big victory this week when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval for the company’s “ingestible sensor” invention. It’s a 1 square millimeter computer chip — roughly the size of a grain of sand — imbedded into a pill which can relay information about your insides to you, and if you choose, to your doctor or nurse.
When you swallow the imbedded pill of your medication of choice, it will go to work inside you, recording the time you took your dose. It transmits that information through your skin to a stick-on patch, which in turn sends the data to a mobile phone application and any other devices you authorize.
Andrew Thompson (pic on left), the kind and oh-so-helpful CEO and cofounder of Proteus, explains that the
“system device” chip-inside-a-pill is intended to overcome our forgetfulness. “People live busy and complex lives, and as a result often don’t take their medicines correctly,” Thompson says. “We wanted to develop a solution that would help make existing medicines more effective in real life.”
The European Union (of course!) approved Proteus’ “system device” in 2010. The company plans to bring its first product, called “Helius,” to market later this year in the U.K. in partnership with the Lloydspharmacy chain.
Helius includes Proteus’ mobile health app, a supply of its stick-on patches (they last 7 days, then need replacing) and a stash of its sensor-equipped placebo chips. The company declined to comment on the system’s planned price tag.
The first wave of Proteus products will rely on placebo pills taken at the same time as the patient’s medication. The company hopes to eventually get its sensors built straight into common medications, Thompson says.
Proteus’ spent four years working through the FDA approval process. Now that it’s got a green light, it plans to begin working on a U.S. version of its Helius system.
The dictionary gives 3 definitions for “proteus”:
- The satellite of Neptune that is 6th in distance from the planet.
- A sea god in Greek mythology who could change his shape at will.
- A gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria of the genus Proteus, certain species of which are associated with human enteritis and urinary tract infections.
The word “helius” is the Latinized version of “Helios,” which is the sun god in Greek mythology. Given that, the “proteus” of the medical tech company Proteus Digital Health probably refers to the mythological Greek sea god who could change his shape at will.
A pill with an imbedded computer chip that could change its shape at will. Hmmm….
Would I swallow such a pill?
Not on your life.