May 17, 2020

New 'smart pills' remind patients to take medication

smart pills
3 min
The smart pills will arrive in Britain in September
Innovative new tablets which are being dubbed as ‘intelligent or ‘smart pills that monitor how well patients take their medication are due...

Innovative new tablets which are being dubbed as ‘intelligent’ or ‘smart’ pills that monitor how well patients take their medication are due to be launched in Britain within the next few months.

The Helius smart pills feature an edible microchip smaller than a grain of sand which reminds patients when their next dose of medication is due and also reports back to their doctor when they have taken it.

It is hoped that by introducing digital drugs levels of patient adherence to medication will increase and it will prevent approximately £400 million worth of prescription drugs being wasted every year in Britain.

Lloydspharmcy, a popular UK pharmacy chain, is planning to launch the smart pills after it secured the British distribution rights by signing a deal with US digital healthcare provider Proteus Biomedical.

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The smart pills are taken in conjunction with the patient’s normal medication and are expected to cost them somewhere in the region of £50 a month.

Once the pill – a red placebo sugar tablet – has been taken, the fluids in the stomach activate the microchip. A signal is then sent to a receiver which is worn in a patch on the patients arm.

This information, along with data regarding the patient’s body temperature and heart rate, is then wirelessly transmitted to smartphones or computers that are owned by the patient themselves or their carer or GP.

The technology monitors the time at which the patients take their medication and then uses their smartphone or computer to prompt them when their next dose is needed.

Estimations by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest that about 50 percent of medications do not take their medications correctly.

Commenting on the launch of the smart pills, which is expected in September, Steve Gray, Lloydspharmacy’s healthcare services director, said: “There is a huge problem with medicines not being taken correctly.

“Anyone taking several medications knows how easy it can be to lose track of whether or not you've taken the correct tablets that day.

“Add to that complex health issues and families caring for loved ones who may not live with them and you can appreciate the benefits of an information service that helps patients get the most from their treatments and for families to help them remain well.”

Meanwhile the Chief Executive of Proteus Biomedical, Andrew Thompson, added:  “In the future the goal is a fully integrated system that creates an information product that helps patients and their families with the demands of complex pharmacy.

“What we know is that we've created many pharmaceuticals with great potential but much of that potential is not realised because these drugs are not being used properly,” he said.

Proteus Biomedical presents the 'smart' pill:

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Jun 18, 2021

Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool 

2 min
Skin Analytics uses AI to detect skin cancer and will be deployed across the NHS to ease patient backlogs

An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system. 

NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion. 

Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making. 

In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog. 

Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening. 

DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.

Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges. 

"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”

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