West Midlands Automated Pill Dispenser Pilot
The West Midlands regional telecare strategy is undertaking a number of pilot projects to asses the costs and benefits of implementing a range of assistive technology. People on high medication who fail to take prescribed drugs at the right time and right dosage risk jeopardising their health and independence. They may also end up being re-admitted to hospital or going into residential care for their own safety, which may impact their quality of life and result in increased costs for the NHS and social services. Research suggests 3%-4% of UK hospital admissions are the result of avoidable medicine-related illness, with between 11% and 30% the result of people not taking medicines properly.
This project looked at using the PivoTell automated pill dispenser for people who were at high risk of failing to take medicine correctly. This device can be programmed to dispense pills up to 28 times a day. At the pre-programmed times, which are input by the dispensing pharmacist, the internal pill cassette rotates, a visible and audible alarm sounds and the correct dosage is released. The pilot will give pill dispensers to patients and will collect data on their levels of GP visits, hospital admissions and quality of life before and after using the device. The research will examine the issues around adoption of the technology and also look at the costs involved.
There are six pilot sites across the West Midlands region, and the aim is to roll out 500 devices by 31st March 2011. So far over 200 pharmacies have been trained to dispense into the devices.
Nov 2010: The first 17 participants have finished their six month trial period. Results have shown a measurable decrease in GP visits, ambulance call-outs, in-patient stays due to medication errors, domiciliary care packages and respite care. Calculations show a return on investment of 19.50 pounds per 1 pound invested. Individual user responses point to clear improvements in quality of life.
Project partners are Boots UK; Pivo Tell; NHS West Midlands; Staffordshire North PCT; Staffordshire County Council; Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council: Telford and Wrekin Metropolitan Borough Council; Worcestershire County Council; Coventry City Council.