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Implanted microchip reminds you to take your pills via text message

Implanted microchip reminds you to take your pills via text message

Posting in Technology

A new implantable microchip may remind patients via text message to follow the doctor's orders and take their prescribed medicine.

What's the best way to make sure Mom takes her pills?

Implant a microchip into her arm.

A study with 20 patients by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis revealed that implanting a microchip into patients with prescription regimens improved compliance with the doctor's orders from 30 percent to 80 percent after six months, reports the Financial Times.

So how's it work? There's a tiny microchip in each pill swallowed, which relays a signal to an implanted chip in the patient's shoulder, that in turn sends a text message to the patient to take his or her medication.

In the race to maintain lucrative margins on proprietary medicines, several pharmaceutical companies are pursuing this technology. For example, Pfizer reportedly developed a system to telephone patients to encourage them to take medicine.

Novartis partnered with Proteus Biomedical, the original developer of the technology, for the tests.

Compliance is a problem faced by every doctor, particularly for patients suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes. Patients may not keep pace with regular medication and end up in the hospital -- a costly situation that can be avoided by following the doctor's orders.

But the arms race for biotech monitoring technologies are a concern for privacy advocates, who say that the technology allows for too much micromanagement.

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure