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Forget your meds? The pill that texts and tweets when you swallow

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Life often gets in the way of us remembering to take our medication. For some illnesses, an hour or two delay can spell disaster -- but what if your pills let you know when you're running late?

As disorganized as we can be, if we are in charge of vulnerable family members, making sure that medication is taken can be even more difficult. Not only can this have dangerous personal consequences, but failing to take medicine properly also costs the healthcare industry millions every year as it rectifies the damage we have done.

If technology can help us avoid these pitfalls, not only could money be saved, but we could also know that our family members are doing what is in their best interests.

While apps designed to help us remember are already on the market, some start-ups are exploring more personal, interactive routes. Andrew Thomson, CEO of Proteus Digital Health, believes there are better ways to regulate both ourselves and those under our care.

Speaking to the BBC, Thomson said:

"The biggest burdens in our health system are about chronic disease, and people typically who have some type of chronic disease need to take medicines every day. And they need to take them appropriately.

And what we know is that most people don't actually do that very well."

To correct the problem, Proteus is working on tablets that can either text or tweet you when the medication hits the stomach.

The key is a tiny, ingestible sensor which is embedded within a pill. Stomach acid powers the sensor, which then communicates with a small patch worn by the patient. The patch, in turn, sends data to an application in the cloud -- accessible by mobile devices -- to say the pill has been swallowed.

While the patch is able to track movement, sleep patterns and vital signs, the application can also measure the drug's effects -- letting healthcare professionals know when it is no longer effective.

"Effectively when you swallow one of our digital drugs it will say, Hello I'm here, I'm Novartis, I'm Diovan, 1.2mg, I'm from plant number 76, I'm batch number 12 and I'm pill number 2." Thomson told the publication.

The technology is currently undergoing a trial in the U.K. by Lloyds Pharmacy.

Via: BBC

Image credit: Flickr

— By on August 9, 2013, 4:14 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure