An In-Home Medication Dispensing System to Support Medication Adherence for Patients With Chronic Conditions in the Community Setting: Prospective Observational Pilot Study

JMIR Form Res. 2022 May 19;6(5):e34906. doi: 10.2196/34906.


BACKGROUND: Innovative digital technology systems that support and monitor real-time medication intake are now available commercially; however, there is limited knowledge of the use of such technology in patients’ homes. One such smart medication dispenser, spencer, provides alerts to patients to take their medications and allows for tracking and reporting real-time medication adherence data.

OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to examine the use of a smart medication dispenser as a medication adherence and self-management support tool for community dwelling adults over a 6-month period, in addition to usability, usefulness, satisfaction, and impact on caregiver support.

METHODS: This prospective, observational study invited community-dwelling adults aged 45 years and older taking at least one chronic medication and their caregivers to use this smart medication dispenser for their medication administration for 6 months. Adherence was defined as a dose intake within 2 hours post scheduled time. Real-time adherence data were collected using the smart medication dispenser and the AdhereNet platform. Usability, usefulness, and satisfaction were measured using the System Usability Scale and the Usefulness, Satisfaction, and Ease of Use questionnaire, respectively. Caregiver burden was measured on a visual analog scale at baseline and at the end of the 6-month study period.

RESULTS: A total of 58 participants were recruited, of which 55% (32/58) were female with a mean age of 66.36 (SD 11.28; range 48-90) years. Eleven caregiver participants were recruited, of whom 91% (10/11) were female. The average monthly adherence over 6 months was 98% (SD 3.1%; range 76.5%-100%). The average System Usability score was 85.74 (n=47; SD 12.7; range 47.5-100). Of the 46 participants who provided data, 44 (96%) rated the product as easy, 43 (93%) as simple to use, and 43 (93%) were satisfied with the product. Caregiver burden prior to and following smart medication dispenser use for 6 months was found to be statistically significantly different (P<.001; CI 2.11-5.98).

CONCLUSIONS: Smart medication adherence products such as spencer, when connected and clinically monitored, can be a useful solution for medication management and have the potential to improve caregiver burden.

PMID:35587371 | DOI:10.2196/34906


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