Florida Hospital Will Be First to Test So-Called “Smart” Prescription Bottle That May Offer a Solution to a Cost Issue in U.S. Health Care

Thursday, January 21, 2016
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A burgeoning health care tech company, Smrxt, recently closed shop in New York to relocate its headquarters to Orlando, Florida.  It has designed a so-called “smart” prescription bottle that will alert physicians and health care companies to missed medication doses.  While it’s currently only been used in the prototype phase, Florida Hospital will be the health care pioneer to first try the success of the high tech bottles on a more extensive scale upon further development.  Florida and the city of Orlando entered into a $330,000 contract with Smrxt payable over the next six years in order to lure the company to its new central Florida location where the project will be perfected and later launched. 

Developing Health Technology in Central Florida.

Smrxt was attracted to Orlando primarily due to IQ Orlando, a coalition focused on developing health technology in our local area.  IQ Orlando is associated with the following institutions: Florida Hospital, Tavistock Group, University of Central Florida and the AHG Group.  The city of Orlando's aim in luring companies such as Smrxt to relocate here is to offset its lower-paying hospitality culture by acquiring start-up companies focusing on technology and life sciences.  The hope is that such companies will offer higher-paying employment opportunities and economic progression.  

Smrxt is one of the first companies to enter into a formal agreement with Florida Hospital's new Health Village incubator program.  The Orlando Sentinel reported that the Director of Health Village, Keith Lowe, said, "The hospital would like to have 20 or 30 more companies like Smrxt."  Part of the $330,000 incentive package is the promise that Smrxt will hire at least 55 people during the next few years paying them an average wage of $63,900.  

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, president and CEO of Smrxt, Mike Huffer, said while the company looked at eight various cities to land its headquarters, Orlando was the most attractive due to IQ Orlando and research going on at Florida Hospital and Lake Nona's Medical City.  Huffer said, "Orlando has a tech cluster and it is basically the major hub for specialty pharmacy companies."  

To read more about central Florida's goals for Smrxt and medical innovation in the region, click here

The Idea Behind a "Smart" Prescription Bottle.

Patients' failure to take medications according to dosing instructions (or entirely) is said to be a significant problem in the health care industry with just half of patients accurately following their medication dosages as directed.  This failure to properly follow medication treatment plans as determined by physicians is costing the United States health care industry approximately $290 billion each year.  Hospital bills alone account for $100 billion of the total cost.  

Smrxt believes that implementing some form of accountability further persuading patients to take their medications as advised by their doctors, will ultimately lead to decreased spending on health care, less crowded emergency rooms, more face-to-face time between physicians and their patients, and overall better health.  Enter the "smart" prescription bottle.

Smrxt has set itself apart in the health technology industry by cultivating a business relationship with the major wireless carrier, Verizon.  This crucial professional partnership is paramount to alerting health care companies of the missed doses rather than simply sending alerts to just the patients via smart phones, such as a similar venture in the works by AdhereTech.  The Smrxt pill bottle contains a sensitive scale measuring the weight of the bottle's contents.  When picked up in an upright position, mind you, the scale retains the ability to calculate a measurement and then beam the obtained data to health care providers.  

In other words, the "smart" prescription bottle essentially "tattles" on patients who are not adhering to prescription dosing guidelines as directed by their physicians.  

For more information on the "smart" prescription bottle, click here

Is it Really a "Smart" Solution?

While the health community and city officials are buzzing over the new expansion expected to bring in nearly $600,000 in capital investment, others are a tad apprehensive about the possible repercussions of the "smart" bottle technology.  As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, president and CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, Trevor Hughes, said, "There is a societal interest in making sure that people take their medicine, but the question is how far does that penetrate into your daily life."  Hughes acknowledges that while patients may not have reservations about their physicians receiving the data reports as to their medication routines or lack thereof, the inclusion of others in health care companies and even insurance companies can have potentially negative impacts.  

Furthermore, some speculate that Smrxt would be required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations if supplying to doctors and hospitals.  Not only is there a potential risk for HIPAA violations, but the fear that insurance companies could raise rates or deny claims for patients in noncompliance raises further concerns about the utilization of "smart" prescription bottles.  

Huffer and co-founder of Smrxt, Victor Chu, said the intent behind the high-tech medication bottle is not to penalize patients but rather to help them by keeping patients and physicians alike cognizant of ongoing compliance with necessary implemented treatment plans.  The company further asserts that all reports of medication noncompliance supplied to doctors will be based on patient preferences and subject to patient privacy restrictions. 


Do you believe the "smart" prescription bottle is a smart solution to encourage patient adherence to prescription and dosing directives given by their physicians?  What are your thoughts on the expansion of health technology in central Florida?  Are you excited about the expansion of medical innovation in our region?

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Brinkmann, Paul.  "High-Tech Pill Bottled Report to Your Doctor."  Orlando Sentinel: 7 Jan. 2016, A1 & A10. Print.

Tomaszewski, Adria.  "A 'Smart' Prescription Bottle Could Help Lead to Better Health."  Verizon News Center: 5 Feb. 2015.  Web.  20 Jan. 2016.

About the Author:
George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

Florida health attorney, physician defense attorney, pharmaceutical defense attorney, patient-privacy protection, patient and public safety, health law attorney, Florida health lawyer, The Health Law Firm, health law defense lawyer, health professional attorney, HIPAA violations, HIPAA defense lawyer, smart prescription bottle, medical innovation in Orlando, Smrxt in Orlando, physician preventive care duties, physician prescribing, Florida Hospital research and technology, hospital defense lawyer, medication compliance

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.

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