Let’s start with a confession; I’m part of the statistics. My immune system is quite fragile, providing a playground for various bacteria. As a token of appreciation for my hospitality, they often leave me with a lovely infection that only a course of antibiotics can clear up. However, I rarely finish the prescribed course, stopping as soon as I start feeling better, quite against my doctor’s advice. I’m what you call an ‘early quitter’. Guilty as charged.
According to the World Health Organization, I am not alone. In fact, half of all patients do not take their medications as prescribed. It’s a worldwide problem NXP is hoping to solve with a tag and tap.
The recently released NXP NTAG SmartSensor devices are here to help ‘early quitters’ like myself, who have trouble ‘staying the course’. The sensor is incorporated into the medicine packaging, such as blister packs, bottles, injection pens, inhalers or syringes, and monitors whether the medication is taken and in the recommended dosage. Tapping the tag with a smartphone makes that information available to doctors, family and caregivers, which means if you’re careless, you’re busted!
Think of patients with cancer, HIV, and other diseases. Being conscientious in taking their medicine is literally a matter of life and death. In my case, the problem hasn’t gone beyond a couple of extra courses of antibiotics, but for many people, this is a life-saving solution.
Successful medication is not all in the patient’s hand. To be effective, most medicines need to be kept at a constant temperature to maintain their quality. NXP can also help with this. When shipping medication in cold chain logistics, the pharmaceutical or shipping company can tag each package with a SmartSensor label to collect regular readings. Upon delivery, the recipients tap their smartphones to access the data and check if the proper temperature was maintained throughout shipping.
Our sensors may be small, but they make a big impact, big enough to save people’s life. NXP is doing its bit to make the world a healthier place, and that’s good medicine!