The Next Pill You Swallow Might Have a Computer Chip In It

IngestibleIt may take more than a spoonful of sugar to make the public accept the idea of swallowing a tiny computer that reports on their health.

Swallowing a miniature computer to report on your health is coming soon to a doctor near you. In one example that exists today, a sensor the size of a grain of sand attached to an everyday pill reports data to a patch worn on the skin. The patch then sends the data to your phone or tablet for you or your doctor to review.

Called ingestible electronics or digital medicine, devices like it will soon collect information about your heart rate, activity levels, skin temperature, reaction to drugs and more.

A report from the US Network for Excellence in Health Innovation from September 2010 said about 50 per cent of patients didn’t take prescription medication as directed, adding that medication adherence problems in the US costs $US290 billion ($376 billion) in unnecessary healthcare spending.

It’s something doctors hope ingestible electronics will alleviate. A March 2014 letter written by doctors to the Journal of Clinical Hypertension said such methods provided “useful information … to improve blood pressure”.

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