UK Pill Dispenser Study Results


 Automated Pill Dispenser Project Evaluation

(Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands)



This end of project evaluation report, from Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands, covers the PivoTell automated pill dispenser. Mark 3 of this product offers an effective way to help vulnerable adults remember to take their medication. This device is aimed at people with poor memory, typically people with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, but it has also been demonstrated to benefit those with Parkinson’s Disease, mental health issues, learning difficulties, physical difficulties, patients with long-term medical conditions and the visually impaired.
The report covers initial research at the University of Birmingham, project set-up, referral and assessment, client profiles, the role of the pharmacy in this project, impact evaluations and cost analyses, an assessment of patient experience and feedback, communications arising from the project, general conclusions and recommendations.
The project involves a GP prescribing the device, or a Social Worker assessing suitability. A pharmacist dispenses the unit and social care staff are involved in advising and building the scheme into care plans. The trial was funded by the NHS Innovation Fund and
Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands.
The multi-agency pilot included 53 people who had been in hospital after failing to take their medicine during the six months before the scheme.  For those 53 people, 371 hospital bed days were shown to have been avoided; so that the NHS saved £94,605 against an investment of £10,865. The cost per patient was £205, while the saving per patient was £1,700 over six months in terms of social care and NHS costs.
The final data from this project indicate savings of £431,000, calculated at an average of £1,700 per person over a 6-month period. These savings arise mostly from reductions in health worker visits at patients’ homes and reduced hospital admissions / re-admissions. Home visits avoided accounted for £107,000 (52% of total social care savings) and averted hospital admissions accounted for £151,000 (68% of total health savings). 96% of survey respondents commented that this technology results in improved health and wellbeing, greater independence and a better quality of life.


Bowsher, M. (2012). The Automated Pill Dispenser project – the right pills at the right time delivering the right outcomes. End project evaluation report. West Midlands [Walsall]: Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands, March 2012, 53p.