Digestible sensors were first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 when they were introduced by a digital healthcare company.
These sensors enable medical professionals to alter the care provided to the individual with the help of information transmitted about the patient from these digestive sensors. It also helps to gain information about other individuals suffering from similar health conditions or ailments.
How does it work?
The digestible sensors are made entirely of ingredients found in food and are activated on ingestion.These sensors resemble sand grains and are basically made of silicon which is a combination of a wearable patch and an ingestible sensor, which detects physiological data and the medication consumed by the individual.A patch is adhered on the body to sense the body's behaviorand physiological response obtained from the sensors. In addition, the patch also records the heart rate, temperature, activity and rest patterns of the individual. The patch works for approximately 7 days operated by a battery that lasts for approximately the same period.
A mobile device is carried by the individual to display data in context and support care.The sensorsdetect the precise timeand thetype of medication administered and this information is under the control of the patient.The digestible sensors do not have a battery, but sensors get their power from the stomach fluids and the body sends the digital signals produced by the sensor.
What are its benefits?
This technology has been tested for many days on patients in clinical trials without reporting any serious adverse events and without causing any interference to other devices used for medical purpose. This innovation can help healthcare team in detecting diseases and conditions in the initial stages and also help constantly monitor the patients wirelessly.
Though the research regarding ingestible sensors is still in its nascent stage, there is evidence surrounding chronic disease management with a possible solution. This new digital medicine
would help physicians to make an accurate prognosis of a patient’s treatment/disease remission by matching physiological reactions to real-time vital signs. Also helps find out if medication is being administered properly through ingestible sensors. Ingestible sensors would help a doctor determine if a patient is taking a dynamic medication regimen correctly.
The ingestible sensors also have the capability of improving doctor-patient communication. A majority of patient-error medication is due to unclear instruction from his/her doctor, in such cases an ingestible sensor would be able to be able to inform the doctor that their patient is not taking medicine accurately hindering treatment.
Therefore ingestible sensors are expected to ultimately bring down the numbers of medication-error related deaths with its universal application.
In the clinical study conducted by Belknap et al. (2013) ingestible sensors function effectively. THough FDA approved for clinical use as of 2012, yet there is no established, ‘household’ brand running the market; the current solution is still not confirmed. Belknap found, the ingestible sensors are 95% accurate in reading physiological processes. and the data they scribe is receivable 100% of the time. This refers to the potential benefits of ingestible sensors will have on the new-age intelligent medicine market.