Digital Health Tools Lead to Better Patient Care
Research and Innovations spencer is a connected care assistant — a digital pill dispenser that shares data with pharmacists so they can personalize care to each patient.
While Canadians are benefitting from a longer life span, the aging population is putting a strain on national health care costs. One of the key causes of this strain is errors being made in taking prescribed medications. In fact, nearly 75% of adults are taking medication incorrectly, which can result in more frequent doctor and hospital visits and poor patient outcomes. The impact on pharmacies is also significant, with many experiencing a 25% revenue loss due to patients not following their prescriptions.
Digital health tools are playing an increasingly important role by putting pharmacists at the center of patient care, improving medication adherence while strengthening their patient relationships. "Effective digital health tools require four key features," explains Shane Bishop, pharmacist and CEO of BC-based Catalyst Healthcare. "They should prompt medication administration with real-time visibility from the pharmacy, integrate with other Bluetooth devices to collect important patient data – such as glucose levels, blood pressure, and weight—have video capability for telehealth purposes, and be able to pull crucial patient reported and outcome data."
Fortunately, there's a device that does it all. spencer is a connected care assistant that helps patients, caregivers, and health care practitioners alike. At its core, it's a digital pill dispenser, but it's also part of Catalyst's greater medication adherence ecosystem — a network of connected technologies that gather and share data in real-time. This network gives pharmacists the information they need to serve their patients in a highly personalized way.
"Our family has peace of mind and mum maintains her independence and quality of life."
– Joanna Calleja-Gera
"Pharmacists should be leaders in patient engagement," says Bishop. "By freeing up their time with automated solutions, it allows them to engage with patients, monitor adherence, review patient reported and outcome data in real-time, and become more proactive in caring for their patients."
The patient reported and outcome data pharmacists collect can also be useful for other health care professionals within the patient's network. "We empower pharmacists to provide patients with a truly connected network of care," Bishop says.
Patient empowerment is key
Digital health tools also help to relieve a great amount of stress. "Knowing that they're being taken care of helps people and their loved ones to have peace of mind," says Julie McRae RN, BN, Director of Clinical Outcomes with Catalyst. "There's a sense of empowerment and independence that comes with being able to stay in your own home."
spencer helps to better manage your health by prompting patients when to take medications, asks questions that lets your pharmacist and caregiver(s) know how you're doing, while collecting information such as blood pressure and weight via Bluetooth. In addition, there's no need to pick up or sort pills – everything is specially prepared and delivered to your doorstep. Through the video call feature, patients can also chat with their care team from the comfort of their own home.
Peace of mind for caregivers
Canadians in record numbers are having to invest significant dollars into home care and in many instances, family members are having to become caregivers, putting them under a great deal of stress. Whether it's driving back and forth from a pharmacy or sorting and remembering when pills need to be taken each day, it's time-consuming, hard work. "The anxiety of whether mum took her meds on the correct day at the appropriate time is no longer an issue," shares JoAnna Calleja-Gera. McRae agrees, "spencer is changing lives for patients and their loved ones," explains McRae. "Caregivers can download an app that lets them know if a medication was dispensed on time or even missed altogether. This offers a huge relief."