On Monday the Food & Drug Administration approved the first medicine in the U.S. with a digital ingestion tracking system that works with a smart phone.
It's called Abilify MyCite and will be used to treat schizophrenia and a specific type of bipolar disorder. It's also been approved as a supplemental treatment for adult depression.
Let's say you're the patient. Here's how it's supposed to work.
Each pill is embedded with a sensor that sends a message to a patch that you will wear on your arm.
The patch then transmits info to a mobile app on your phone.
The tracking aspect makes it a lot harder to skip your meds, which may happen a lot with these types of diagnoses.
Dr. Michael Birnbaum, director of the Early Treatment Program (for psychosis) at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said the "continual adoption of new and innovative technological tools is ubiquitous. Technology will revolutionize behavioral healthcare and this advancement is simply the beginning of the digital transformation," said Birnbaum.
He acknowledged that some people may initially "feel wary" of ingesting a sensor. Still, he said, the system provides an opportunity to "passively extract digital data," and this can be critical to improving health.