Glaucoma is one of the most commonly encountered age-related eye diseases that affects 64.3 million individuals worldwide, and this is expected to 111.8 million in 2040. A potentially blinding condition, lifelong eye drops are necessary in order to keep the disease under control. Unfortunately, 80% of patients with glaucoma are non-adherent to their medication regimens due to various barriers such as forgetfulness, poor eye drop instillation techniques and poor self-efficacy. To address this problem, we developed a three-in-one product comprising of an App, a Button and a Card which are designed to address multiple barriers of eye drop non-adherence at the same time. Of note, it has a usage behavior tracking capability, a first of its kind which we believe holds benefits for multiple stakeholders:
Firstly, for the patients, it could prevent over or under-dosing from repeated or missed medication sessions, leading to better control of disease and cost-savings
Secondly, for the concerned caregivers, this facilitates better participation and involvement in the management of the condition
Thirdly, from a larger perspective, it can aid in strategic business planning for pharmaceutical companies and also benefit public health policy making by gaining insight into the problem of medication non-adherence.
We believe the system will interest and benefit patients who have a complex eye drop regimen e.g. those using 3 eye drop bottles or more, caregivers who desire to be more involved in the monitoring of patient’s eye condition and also researchers involved in drug-related clinical trials.
TECHNOLOGY FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS
Comprising of an App, Button and Card, our system is a practical solution that improves patients’ adherence to their eye drops regimes by:
Improving patients’ understanding of their medication regimens
Bridging doctor-patient-caregiver communication gaps,
Making the storage and use of eye drops an ease using a box with a built-in reminder system,
Determine the eye drop usage pattern and behaviour individualised to each patient,
Rewarding patients for being compliant to their eye drops through incentives, and
Simplifying the process of replenishing eye drops when they run low.
The Web App serves three key functions:
For physicians to personalise the settings of a patient’s regime card and box
For physicians, patients, and caregivers to access data and analytics on medication compliance
For patients and caregivers to request for automated refills of their eye drops
The key next steps for our system to make an impact with our innovation include:
Collaborating with partners to further assist the ease of instilling eye drops accuracy into the eye in patients with poor dexterity.
Fine-tune the motion-based monitoring and weight sensing algorithm to improve accuracy in tracking usage pattern and usage weight.
Lowering the costs of product development
Glaucoma patients in the local context in Singapore are usually elderly and face difficulties understanding, remembering, recalling, reading or recognizing medications. A recent patient survey conducted at NUHS showed that 90% of the patients identify the glaucoma medications by the colour of the bottle or packaging.
Patients are also often on complex dosing regimes (e.g. 3 different eye drops, each taken at various different times a day). There are also numerous barriers in communication owing to language barriers, and this is made worse by the time constraints of a short clinic consultation. Ineffective physician-patient-caregiver communication further compounds the issue of medication non-adherence. These various factors all result in medication non-adherence, and poor clinical outcomes and disease management among our glaucoma patients.
There are currently no solutions on the market that addresses the multifactorial nature of eye drop non-adherence effectively. Current solutions focus on improving the aim and/or ease of eye drops administration without addressing the communication issues encountered by doctors and patients or on enabling and incentivising patients to utilise their eye drops more consistently. There is no available technology that tracks real-time eye drop usage from the bottles as well.
1. We address the key communication challenges encountered by physicians, our elderly patients, and their caregivers through a simple card that translates often esoteric medical terms into a simple-to-understand format.
2. We are not only able to provide patients with a simple storage device for their eye drops, but to also remind patients when it is time for them to use their drops and tracks the real-time eye drop usage from the bottles. This could prevent overdosing or under-dosing from repeated or missing out medication sessions. In the long-term patients would benefit from the improved adherence to eye drops which lead to a better quality of life and cost-savings from controlling the diseases.
3. Tracking the amount and rate of eye drop usage would help to determine if the patient is likely to run out of eye drops before their next appointment and facilitate automated refilling of prescriptions.
4. Our ability to track medication compliance among our patients allows us to develop a novel gamification strategy that will allow us to reward patients for consistent eye drops use and to further incentivise them to remain compliant to their medication regimens. This ability to track medication compliance also allows us to develop unique pathways to commercial viability and to derive smarter insights into medication compliance among our patients.
Our solution complements existing strategies to improve medication adherence available in the market and addresses existing gaps. There are solutions in the market that aspire to improve glaucoma drug adherence but they mainly target a single factor contributing to non-adherence. However, as we know, the majority of these patients have poor adherence due to multiple factors and hence interventions should be multi-faceted to target these barriers.