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Small, Ingestible Sensor Can Track Patient Medication Intake, Activity Levels; Technology To Be Tested For TB Treatment

The FDA last month approved for use a small ingestible sensor that, when embedded into a pill, can help “keep track of whether a patient is taking their medicine on time,” Reuters reports. “The digital feedback technology, devised by Redwood City, California-based Proteus Digital Health Inc., can also prompt patients to take their medicine and even ask them to take a walk if they have been inactive for too long,” the news service writes. “Proteus has a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention to test the technology in tuberculosis treatment,” Reuters notes, adding, “Pills for anything from the common cold to diabetes or cancer can be embedded.”

“The swallowed sensor is linked to a skin patch worn on the patient’s torso, which captures the report sent by the sensor,” Reuters writes. “The skin patch records the digital message, along with the patient’s heart rate, body angle and activity, and sends the data to a bluetooth-enabled device such as a phone or computer,” and “[t]he system allows users to set up alarms to remind them to take medicines or to issue an alert if the patient is inactive for a certain time,” the news service adds (Dey, 8/27).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.