University of Penn Adds "Interactive Pillbox" To Health Benefits Package

September 11, 2006 ( - The University of Pennsylvania has added to its employees and retirees benefit package an option that will allow those with chronic health conditions to use a system that alerts them when its time to take medications and how to follow their care plans.

The university will offer the benefit to current and former employees who have diabetes, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, conditions known to cause stroke, heart disease, a premature death and reduced quality of life.

The university is the first self-insured employer to offer the interactive pillbox, or Med-eMonitor System, which was developed by Maryland-based InforMedix, according to a news release.

The program will be administered by the Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor Care Management Team at the university’s hospital, and will be monitored through a secure Web site.

The university was encouraged by the success of the pillbox program on patients in Montana with Type II diabetes, in which the medication adherence rate improved to 92%, far higher than the baseline rate of 40%.

According to the news release, the levels of the blood factor HbA1c associated with diabetes were reduced 18.5% during a three-month period.  Research suggests that a 10% reduction in the level of HbA1c in a person with diabetes increases life expectancy by one year and reduces health care costs by as much as $10,800 per patient.