We all already forgot to take medication, right? Now, imagine people that have to take it on a daily basis for the rest of their life! People that really depend on it to have a stable health! But, if there are people that depend on medication to have a healthy life, what is the risk of forgetting to take medicine? Or to take it wrong? This has become a major problem, and not only for patients, but also for hospitals and professionals, because this leads to more hospitalizations and higher healthcare costs.
There are some measures that have been taken to overcome this, such as giving initial training to patients about the medication they take and their medical devices. However, overtime patients forget, and the errors of the self-administration become undetected and are only seen when there is a serious health problem. So, what can we do to overcome this?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology did a research on the possibility of using artificial intelligence to access the medication self-administration of patients at home! Their focus was on inhalers and insulin pens, but their findings can easily be applicable to other devices and medications.
Their solution uses a Wi-Fi sensor that analyzes the radio reflections of the signal from the environment to track specific movements associated with the use of an inhaler or insulin pen. This system documents the results of the self-administration and uploads it in a digital health record of the patient, that can be accessed by health professionals. Furthermore, the system sends reminders to the patient if the medication was not taken at the prescribed time.
This innovation can have a huge impact on people’s health, especially in a pandemic crisis like the one we live today!
Artificial intelligence can really change the way we provide healthcare, and this technique is the prove of that! There still research to be done, mainly in the upscale of the AI system to other medical devices and in the upgrading of the current one, but this study already shows promising results!
Zhao, M., Hoti, K., Wang, H. et al. Assessment of medication self-administration using artificial intelligence. Nat Med (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01273-1