Del Walters, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - One man claims that changing something as simple as the top of a medicine bottle will result in hundreds of billions of dollars in health care savings.
Richard Burke developed RXTimerCap, a cap that fits on top of prescription pill bottles and uses a built-in timer to remind patients when to take their medicine.
Once the bottle is opened, the clock on the cap's timer resets to zero. When the cap is closed, it measures the seconds, minutes and hours until the appropriate time for the patient to take the medicine again.
Burke's invention is grounded in personal experience and in statistics from the World Health Organization.
When Burke's father was diagnosed with lung cancer, his dad needed a spreadsheet just to keep track of what pills to take and when. When his father became too sick to follow his own flow charts, he passed the responsibility on to Burke's mother and then to Burke, who continued to wrestle with the problem until his father's death.
WHO reports that roughly 50 percent of patients do not take their medications as directed. This leads to more than 125,000 deaths every year in the U.S. Based on those statistics, Burke says his cap can save as much as $300 billion dollars in health care costs.
Burke is now working with pharmacies to see if they will provide the caps for free. He is also working with insurers to underwrite the costs.
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