The fine people at the University of Florida have developed a type of pill that can notify a doctor or family member when a patient has taken his or her medicine. Dubbed 'tattletale pills,' the new type of pill is comprised of two parts. The first is a pill capsule coated with a label embossed with silvery lines. These lines are the antenna and are printed using ink made of nontoxic, conductive silver nanoparticles. The pill also contains a tiny microchip, one about the size of a period.
The second part is an electronic device carried or worn by the patient, which doctors are hoping can someday be incorporated into cell phones or watches. This device is responsible for powering the antenna and chip inside the pill and confirming to doctors that the pill has been ingested. The device sends power to the pill via bursts of extremely low voltage electricity. These bursts energize the microchip to send signals relayed via the antenna. The device then sends a message to a doctor or carer's laptop or cell phone, confirming that the pill has been taken. Eventually, the patient's stomach acid breaks down the antenna and the microchip is passes through the gastrointestinal tract.
The University of Florida cites the American Heart Association as saying the failure to follow prescription regimens is “the number one problem in treating illness today.” The AHA says 10 percent of hospital admissions result from patients not following the guidelines on their prescriptions and refers to studies that say patients with chronic diseases usually only take about half their prescribed medications. Other studies found that not taking medication properly results in 218,000 deaths annually.