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User Acceptability and Technical Robustness Evaluation of a Novel Smart Pill Bottle Prototype Designed to Support Medication Adherence

Authors Zijp TR, Touw DJ, van Boven JFM

Received 29 November 2019

Accepted for publication 27 February 2020

Published 20 March 2020 Volume 2020:14 Pages 625—634


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Tanja R Zijp,1 Daan J Touw,1–3 Job FM van Boven1,3

1Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands; 2Department of Pharmaceutical Analysis, University of Groningen, Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, Groningen, the Netherlands; 3Medication Adherence Expertise Center of the Northern Netherlands (MAECON), Groningen, the Netherlands

Correspondence: Job FM van Boven
University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1 (Internal Postcode EB70), Groningen 9700 RB, the Netherlands
Tel +31503617893

Purpose: Smart medication adherence monitoring devices can provide objective and granular drug utilization data and help patients engaging with their treatment. In this proof-of-concept study, the acceptability and technical robustness of a novel smart pill bottle prototype (SPBP) were assessed in order to allow further optimization.
Methods: The SPBP is an app-controlled automatic dispense system, capturing real-time data on a web-based platform, which sends text reminders and measures storage conditions. A heterogeneous group of ten volunteers was asked to dispense placebo capsules with the SPBP and to follow a predefined dosing schedule for a trial period of 2 weeks. Afterwards, a questionnaire was filled out during a short interview. Primary outcome was dispense adherence as measured by the bottle. Other study outcomes included system acceptability (System Usability Scale [SUS]), self-reported adherence (MARS) and technical robustness of the bottle’s mechanics (electronic pill dispenser) and sensors (bottle temperature).
Results: The overall dispense adherence rate as measured by the SPBP was 88%. All participants completed the study and four participants had an adherence rate of 100% during the study. The dispense adherence rates corresponded well with participants’ self-reported adherence with an average MARS total score of 23.6 (out of 25). Participants judged the system easy to use, with a mean SUS score of 79.3 (range: 57.5– 97.5). The overall mean temperature difference between the bottle sensor and calibrated external sensor was − 0.82°C (range: − 1.37°C to − 0.21°C).
Conclusion: The SPBP was well accepted and this study provides data for further optimization and follow-up studies. Smart adherence technologies such as these may change the way healthcare professionals, trialists and patients manage medication adherence.

Keywords: smart device, real-time monitoring, medication management, electronic data, medication dispenser, mobile app

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