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Adding Connectivity to Drug Delivery Devices

Connectivity in drug delivery devices may be changing from being the exception to the rule.

Nowadays, the trend towards home-based care is being driven both by providers as well as patients for a better economic sense to enable patients to be treated at home – comfortable and familiar environment as it cuts down on costs and frees up both beds and the valuable time of patients and healthcare professionals.

Patient Adherence

There are a wide variety of factors which contribute to non-adherence with a prescribed treatment regimen. Patients sometimes simply forget to take their medication at the right time, while others may not correctly understand the dosing instructions. Patients may fail to complete the full course of a treatment, which can greatly impact its efficacy.

Whilst failure to take medication has quite obvious implications for a patient’s health, it also impacts on healthcare payers who have a clear interest in finding ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of healthcare. It’s estimated that 50% of patients suffering chronic illness do not take their medication as prescribed, costing US$100 billion to $300 billion annually in avoidable direct healthcare costs in the US alone, according to Springboard.1

Connecting Drug Delivery Devices

Connected devices have been around for some time, enabling consumers to control everything from their home, while convenient, these systems are often vulnerable to hackers and represent a very real security concern. But DCA Design points out that when it comes to medical and pharmaceutical devices, connected devices are a very different proposition.

To make it to market, new products need to be demonstrably safe and effective and regulators demand extensive evidence of this. Likewise, it’s also imperative that medical devices are secure, to ensure both safety and confidentiality.

Next Generation Electronic Multi-Use Auto-injectors

Various solutions are under development to meet the need for connected drug delivery devices. One such device, the Flexi-Q eMU-P electronic auto-injector designed by E3D, developed following extensive usability tests involving patients from various groups taking in consideration gender, age, illness, disability, etc.  All aspects of the Flexi-Q eMU-P auto-injector, including shape, convenience and ease of use, were extensively tested and optimized. The result is a compact, user-friendly and easy to use device, designed to solve one of the key reported reasons for non-adherence – failure to understand how the device works.

As for its connectivity features, the Flexi-Q eMU-P system includes a specialized mobile app that enables data regarding injecting habits and patient compliance with the prescribed treatment program to be enhanced. Reminders, logs, and injection data can be automatically sent to patients, family members as well as healthcare professionals.  Data such as the time, quantity, drug type and whether a full or partial injection was delivered can all be recorded and sent from the Flexi-Q eMU-P via a wireless connection to remote data storage.

To further ensure patient safety, the device is programmed to be use with a disposable cassette that includes an RFID component, on which the pharmaceutical company can encode the drug name and dosage, expiry date and anti-fraud barcode, as well as various permissions and definitions and other additional features.

E3D auto-injectors are designed to provide each patient with effective care according to their own specific treatment program. E3D’s auto-injectors decrease the storage and waste footprint, for both drug manufacturers and patients, thereby reducing any negative environmental impact. As the demand for improved patient compliance and quality of care grows, there’s increasing awareness of production costs.

The selection of drug delivery devices depends on numerous factors, including formulation, primary package, dosing — and the ability to ensure safe and effective usage.

The ability to provide home-based self-injection has many benefits and the appropriate use of smart, connected delivery devices enables remote monitoring to ensure treatments are being administered on time as well as delivering the desired therapeutic results.

Connected drug delivery devices are already here: it remains to be seen to what extent they are embraced by healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies as well as how they are accepted by the patients they serve.

 

  1. Oakley, T. “Connected Drug Delivery Sector Overview” Frederick Furness Publishing Ltd., 2019, https://www.ondrugdelivery.com/magazines/connecting-drug-delivery-87/

Recent trends in the healthcare provision field have emphasised the advantages of providing products that enable use in a non-clinical setting and facilitating self-administration of...
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