Connected Healthcare for Seniors Living at Home with Chronic Disease 

Two point-of-care workers checking a medication list

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Mubashir Arain, Senior Consultant

Project Title: Connected Healthcare for Seniors Living at Home with Chronic Disease 

What is the issue?

Two-thirds of Canadian adults 65 years of age and older are prescribed five or more medications. Older adults, especially those with dementia, are more likely to miss taking medications when there are several, requiring a complicated schedule. Improving adherence to medication plans improves health outcomes. A medication dispensing system called spencer provides reminders, pre-loaded medications and allows pharmacists to monitor older adults’ behaviour for taking medication.

What did we do?

We conducted a pilot study to see if spencer could help older adults take their medication on time. We also asked older adults what they thought about the technology. We placed study participants randomly into two groups. One group used spencer for six months. A comparison group continued to take their medication as they were before, without using spencer.

What did we find?

Older adults found spencer easy to use. More study participants in the spencer group took their medications on time than those in the comparison group. Some spencer users said the device improved their health and relationships. A few said it reduced the number of appointments with their physicians. Some individuals found the device expensive. Pharmacists believed spencer allowed them to provide better care by allowing them to monitor older adults’ symptoms and medication adherence remotely.