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Study results show local dispenser helps patients

Study results released Wednesday by the faculty at St. John Fisher College’s Wegmans School of Nursing could lead to a breakthrough in the care of those who forget to take their medication, officials said.

MedaCube, a system that includes an automated dispenser for medication, is a product of PharmAdva LLC. Early results from the study show the dispenser significantly improves medication adherence rates in previously non-adherent patients.

MedaCube was invented by Michael Berg M.D., associate professor of neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and chief medical officer of PharmAdva. Berg, along with CEO Jonathan Sacks, founded PharmAdva in 2009 to commercialize the associated URMC patents into a market-ready product.

“Patients not taking their meds as prescribed account for 22 percent of all hospital and nursing home admissions,” Sacks said. “The dispenser system holds promise for materially reducing health care costs and improving patient quality of life.”

Sacks enlisted St. John Fisher’s School of Pharmacy to aid in a six-month feasibility study. The researchers found the 10 patients using MedaCube in the first 30-day period showed an average 94 percent medication adherence rate, up from an average 50 percent adherence rate prior to the start of the study.

MedaCube has the capacity to store a 90-day supply of up to 16 different medications. Its touchscreen allows users to pre-program medication doses, schedules, and the names and contact information of patients and caregivers who should receive alerts. Once programmed, an alarm will sound when it is time to take medication, and requires the patient to touch a “Dispense Pills” button on the screen.

After that step is taken, the pills are dispensed from their bin. If the button is not pushed, pills are not dispensed, and a message is sent to caregivers via text, phone or email that the medication has not been taken. 

Sacks said he hopes to launch MedaCube as a consumer product in the coming months and to continue feasibility testing with St. John Fisher.

“This is really a good example of how academic researchers and private industry can work together to develop solutions that can have a wide-ranging impact on the community,” Sacks said.

(c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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