With funding from the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) through its Industry Innovation Partnership Program (I2P2), researchers at the University of Waterloo conducted a prospective, observational study involving our connected in-home medication dispenser.
Non-adherence to medications is a key contributor to potentially preventable healthcare utilization. Understanding the role of connected technology, particularly among the elderly, impacts funding and access.
Months data collection
System Usability Score
To closely measure the impact of connected technology on medication adherence, usability, and caregiver burden in Ontarians aged 65+ taking three or more medications for at least one chronic condition.
Participants enrolled and were introduced to a pharmacist for a personalized med review and health consult, provided with a spencer device, and weekly or bi-weekly home delivery of meds. When people use spencer, we can see whether or not they're taking their medication. Their pharmacy has a dashboard for real-time insight into patients adherence, and we see data across all users. When people take everything as prescribed, great! And for those who don't, we discuss potential reasons why with their pharmacist. Many times it's a simple tweak to better align with an individuals schedule, i.e. the first dose on Wednesday's is at 8:30am instead of 7:30am. These small adjustments help people to achieve great adherence, which then gives us the opportunity to assess whether the medications are effective and to take action accordingly.
Connected technologies like spencer could be a useful solution for medication management in patients on chronic drug therapy.
Tejal Patel, PharmD, Principal Investigator
Over the six month study period, the average adherence was 98%, far above the 80% benchmark that is recognized by the World Health Organization as “adherent”.1 Not only was the adherence high, but patients found spencer to be easy and simple to use - a few even reported it to be fun! This is great news as it means that people are more likely to stick with it, which is important to consider as we want to achieve and sustain high adherence over time.
And in addition to people taking their meds properly, something we constantly hear about is the impact of spencer on caregivers - from having meds organized and delivered to knowing that they're being taken and that there are clinical pharmacists actively watching out for their loved one. So we were very enthusiastic about the team at Waterloo measuring the impact in a formal way, and were thrilled with the results.
For caregivers, the study showed spencer has the potential to improve caregiver burden, otherwise known as the strain of caring for a patient, over time. With caregivers often going above and beyond to care for their loved ones, it can impact their own quality of life. With the assistance of spencer, caregivers spend less time focusing on administering medications, allowing for more time for themselves and other important tasks.
Below is the poster presented at the Canadian Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting, May 26-28, 2021.