December 7, 2017 – Electronic Pills


Anchor lead:  Would you be willing to take the newly approved electronic pill? Elizabeth Tracey reports

A pill capable of reporting electronically that you’ve taken your medicine has been approved by the FDA. Are you willing to take such a medicine? For the moment you get to decide if you’ll share information collected by the pill with your care provider, but could it become compulsory? Timothy Niessen, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says such strategies to compel behavior exist right now.

Niessen: I can get $40 a month off my insurance premium if I can prove to my insurer that I do not smoke. I can use those portable devices that monitor how far I walk to get a discount off my health insurance if I gather more than 10,000 steps a day and engage in other things. We’re already seeing the intersection of the increased ability using small electronic devices and other technology to survey our behaviors, and how that effects real things, our bottom line and our pocket health.   :30

Niessen says he’d rather volitional incentives remain in place to engage people in choosing their own healthier behaviors. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.