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Microchips Improve Patient Compliance with Smart Pills

Updated on May 16, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession, and I enjoy writing about medical issues. I'm also interested in history, genealogy, and travel.

Smart Pills to Improve Patient Compliance

Medical services are able to measure patient compliance with their medications by utilizing microchips. A Swiss pharmaceutical company called Novartis is testing technology that inserts a tiny microchip into each pill the patient swallows, typically called smart pills.

This microchip signal is detected by another chip that is placed in the patient's shoulder, and a text message is then sent to the patient if they forget to take their pill on time.

The technology has obviously improved patient compliance. This could certainly be useful for the elderly or perhaps someone with some mental impairment. Obviously, if you require a particular medication it will be more effective if taken as prescribed at about the same time each day.

Will Medical Records Remain Private?

Some people are concerned that their private medical treatment might not be kept private if a computer or smart phone is receiving their personal information.

While it would be a helpful reminder for someone who forgets to take his or her pills, it will also be in a patient’s record. Our medical records should be private between us and our doctors, but, of course, your insurance company has a record of all medications and procedures since they pay for them.

Could a non-compliant patient be penalized is some way if they don’t take their medication? Could the government get involved if you were non-compliant and receiving medicare?

For instance, I have a physician that always wants to increase my prednisone when I am having lung problems, but I have found this is a very temporary fix with serious side effects, so I choose not to increase the dosage.

Could there be a day I when lose my insurance for not following this advice? Obviously this is just speculation on my part, but it is food for thought.


National Geographic
National Geographic

Smart Pills for Diagnosis

Smart pills have another advantage in their ability to effectivelytarget specific areas of the stomach and intestines, which results in using drugs with lower doses, thus less side effects. Smart Pills are being used in six sites in the United States and has the potential to assist pathologists and medical doctors to diagnose various diseases. These include Crohn's disease, colitis, colon cancer and gastroparesis.

Furthermore, Norvatis plans to add a microchip to drugs taken by transplant patients to help prevent organ rejection. Numerous other companies are in various stages of development for biochips.


Medical Anatomy
Medical Anatomy

Gastroparesis Diagnosis

Gastroparesis, a common problem in diabetics, is difficult to diagnosis. It is a condition problem occurring when high blood sugar destroys the vagus nerve in the stomach, thus preventing the stomach muscles from contracting.

Prior to the Smart Pill the patient had to endure numerous invasive, expensive and frequently inconclusive tests.

The Smart Pill is a small capsule containing sensors and a radio transponder. As this capsule passes through the stomach, intestines and bowel it transmits important diagnostic information, such as the ph, temperature, and the amount of pressure in the stomach and the intestines to a receiver attached to a belt.

Once the pill has made it through the system a medical doctor downloads the data to a computer, which gives the doctor an accurate picture of how the stomach is working. This allows the patient to receive treatment in a more timely fashion without invasive tests.

Glucose Monitoring Device

Another new continuous glucose monitoring device, which has been approved by the FDA, provides more information for managing diabetes. It looks like a wristwatch and while it does not replace finger sticks for blood glucose monitoring it does assists in ensuring accurate results.


The diagnostic Smart Pill should help diagnosis and treat various illnesses safely, plus more quickly than the large variety of typical specialized tests. It is a great advancement for gastroenterologists. Cancers are diagnosed earlier, thus the chance of recovery is greatly increased. This is certainly a a great new field for diagnosing and monitoring numerous diseases.

The microchip for monitoring, whether you are taking your medication on time is still in the developmental stage. It will be used in Europe first, probably in the next 18 months. It has not been approved by the United States FDA.

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Amber, Technology is really moving fast. Thank you so much for your comments.

    thelyricwriter, It is amazing. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

  • thelyricwriter profile image

    Richard Ricky Hale 

    6 years ago from West Virginia

    Up, useful, and interesting votes Pamela. Wow, it truly amazes me how far technology has come. This would be a big step in the future of medicine. Hopefully we will find cures for cancer soon also. Have to tip my hat to those who make these things possible. A very well written article Pamela with great news along with it. Hope you have a great New Year! Take care.

  • Amber Allen profile image

    Amber Allen 

    6 years ago

    Hi Pamela

    This is a topic I knew nothing about. I think it is great the way that technology is being used to make advances in medicine.

    With best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year,


  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Jasper, Thank you for your comment.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    very interesting

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    BPOP, I agree as I hate some of those awful tests. Thanks for your comments.

  • breakfastpop profile image


    7 years ago

    The possibilities for this breakthrough are startling. Imagine being able to diagnose a problem without torturing a patient! Up interesting, useful and awesome.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    always exploring, I understand why you're not sure about the new technology. That's why I had reservations about the microchip that somehow has a computer call you if you miss your medication. I am more comfortable with the iPill since I did have a test using that method and it went very well answering the questions. Thanks for your comments.

    Anginwu, As I just said in the previous comment I feel the same way you do. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • anglnwu profile image


    7 years ago

    Fascinating information. Smart pills can do amazing things when it comes to diagnose and treat diseases. Not too sure about the personal information leak with the use of smart pills--like you said, you don't want to be penalize for non-compliance to doctors' orders. Thanks for sharing and rated up.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    7 years ago from Southern Illinois

    I'm really not so sure how i feel about this new technology. It's probably a good thing. This is new to me, so many new techniques. I'm glad that you stay informed. Your hubs are always so helpful. Thank you again..

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Cardisa, For a procedure to my knowledge it is only one pill with a chip and it passes right through your system at the same rate as your food. I took for for a test to see how much stomach acid I had as I had a lot of heartburn and there was nothing to it. I hope this answers your questions.

  • Cardisa profile image

    Carolee Samuda 

    7 years ago from Jamaica

    My questions are:

    (1) How many microchip pills will I have to ingest?

    (2) Is the microchip biodegradable?

    (3) Will is pass out of my system eventually and how long after taking the pill will that happen?

    Pamela I know you probably can't answer these questions but I believe that to ingest something like that a lot of questions need to be answered.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    drbj, It is fascinating because it is so much less evasive as a medical procedure. I actually took one earlier this year and wore a little monitor for a day. They adjusted a medication I was taking and it was all so simple. I didn't remember you writing that hub but I'll try to find it. Thanks for your comments.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    7 years ago from south Florida

    I am fascinated by the possibilities of the various smart pills. So fascinated, Pamela, that the very first Hub I ever wrote was: are you ready for this? "Would You Swallow an iPill?" Wrote it in the fall of 09 when I learned about it in a medical journal.

    Thanks for your careful research.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Happyboomernurse, Thank you so much for your comments.

    R.Talloni, I like the list of reasons you gave that could interfere with taking your medication. I appreciate your comments and agree with your another parent comment.

    Homesteadbound, I'm glad you found the article interesting and I appreciate your comments.

  • homesteadbound profile image

    Cindy Murdoch 

    7 years ago from Texas

    This is a very interesting article. I had not heard of these things before. Thanks for sharing!

  • RTalloni profile image


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Your summary caught my eye because of the mention of non-compliant patients. Although your topic wasn't why it caught my eye after all, what you write is very interesting.

    There could be all sorts of problems with the microchip reminder. If I forget a prescribed pill it's because something happened--an emergency came up and I had to run out of the house--how does a text reminder help that? Or maybe I had the flu and couldn't take it--the text reminder would really be annoying. So many scenarios could keep me from wanting those text reminders. If I don't have sense enough to take meds correctly on a regular basis I think I need another person to take care of seeing that I get it, not a message reminding me that I am inadequate for the job!

    I've seen info on the diagnosis pill--that one is good stuff! Thanks for a look at these medical advances. Patients need to think them through before a doc and staff throws them at us with a very positive song and dance! Voted up.

    Can you tell that we are in the thick of dealing with the medical system with another parent???

  • Happyboomernurse profile image

    Gail Sobotkin 

    7 years ago from South Carolina

    Fascinating article. I hadn't heard of these things before but they sound intriguing. Thanks for sharing this information.

    Voted up and interesting.


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