Contact: Dr. Andrés Arcia-Moret, Dr. Whitney Scott & Dr. Maria Sharmina, D-FLEX and Computer Lab
Mentor: Bill Matthews

Patient adherence to complex or long-term medication regimens is a known problem in both developed and developing contexts. Sub-optimal adherence to prescribed medication is linked to poorer health outcomes and greater healthcare costs. There are many reasons, for example poor access to medication, patients’ beliefs about the importance of medication and concern about side-effects, and the complexity of some treatment schedules.

The D-FLEX team is developing a low-cost and low-power device which can remotely dispense and monitor medication intake. They are also investigating ways of refilling such devices remotely so that rural patients can avoid long journeys to the clinic for repeat prescriptions. Within the UK it is known that poor patient adherence leads to a high level of wastage and unnecessary expenditure for the NHS. It is expected that improving adherence in developing countries would similarly help to reduce costs.

The i-Team will need to look at how such a device would be used in real-world deployments in the developing world, including looking at the acceptability of new technologies in these contexts, and how they could motivate patients to use the device and take their medication correctly. They will also investigate the best contexts for initial trials (eg rural or urban, level of healthcare support), and recommend which disease treatments are most affected by lack of compliance today.