EPM June/July/August 2020

Page 34


How connected devices are helping patients better manage their medications and improve adherence.

T Author: ANDREAS MELINIOTIS director of Device Development at Vectura

The emergence of connected devices brings the industry to a potential turning point.

he effectiveness of any treatment is a combination of many factors, most notably patient adherence to the dosage regimen and correct use of drug delivery devices by the patient. This means that a lack of compliance and/or patient use error can seriously compromise treatment outcomes. Now, more than at any time in the past, it is possible to use relatively simple connected devices to track and report factors affecting adherence, giving healthcare providers specific and targeted data to inform decisions regarding any necessary modification of a therapy. As the availability of connected devices increases, so the effect of this data-driven therapy adjustment is likely to become increasingly apparent, which in turn will increase the desire to connect more therapies.

way, adherence should be defined as how patients follow the medical prescription. However, numerous variables influence medication use, such as the route of administration, frequency of use, taste, response to therapy and adverse events.” Another example where feedback on medication effectiveness is key to correct administration is

diabetes, where glucose levels are self-measured by patients to decide when to administer insulin. Where connected devices can provide feedback on medication effectiveness, this can be an important part of the selfadministration process. The ability of patients to selfadminister, however, depends

Making the

Connected drug delivery should be focused on areas where the impact can be greatest. For example, whereas insulin injections for diabetes have a generally high level of adherence due to immediate severe outcomes, an asthma maintenance therapy may exhibit poor adherence as there is no immediate decline in health. Using a connected drug delivery device for the latter can provide a high level of monitoring and therefore give an early trigger for intervention to prevent uncontrolled disease and eventually hospitalisation. Some therapies can be affected significantly by user technique, and identifying this can have a dramatic effect on the efficacy of a treatment, particularly if it prevents a patient being prescribed a medication at a higher level to compensate for poor technique. A recent paper reviewing inhaler adherence states, “In the simplest