Medication Adherence Study

 Improving Medication Adherence of Elderly through Monitoring and Intervention 

With the growth of the elderly population in Singapore, healthcare expenditure and prevalence of age-related illnesses are expected to increase. Non-adherence to medication among the elderly is a common issue that leads to adverse health complications, particularly among those with chronic conditions.

The use of technology is a cost-effective method to: (i) monitor medication adherence in the elderly; and (ii) detect anomalies or changes in the elderly’s medication consumption over time.  thus allowing for subsequent personalized intervention by their caregivers

As part of the SHINESeniors project, the team has built a prototype sensor-enabled medication box and a gateway that is placed in each of the elderly residences. The sensor-enabled box detects the time and frequency that the elderly uses it; medication intake is then inferred based on usage of the box. This information is sent in real-time via the 3G-enabled gateway, to the caregivers - who can then take appropriate interventions whenever necessary.

The above graph shows the intake timings of Elderly S016, 
who takes her medication very regularly, twice a day

Based on engagements with our stakeholders, who include both medical professionals and caregivers, it is hypothesized that medication adherence monitoring has varying benefits to different groups of elderly. In extreme cases whereby the elderly is diagnosed with chronic illnesses that require extremely regular medication intake, it is essential for the caregiver to be notified in real-time whenever the elderly misses a dosage. This also reduces manpower costs, as caregivers can reduce the number of visits to the elderly (if medication intake is normal). On the other hand, with long-time monitoring, changes in an elderly’s medication consumption may indicate impending health issues. Caregivers can then be notified to provide pre-emptive interventions when such anomalies in medication consumption behavior are detected.

Although there are existing sensor-enabled medication boxes in the market, these are typically expensive and existing literature has reviewed that these solutions are not widely adopted by the elderly. Our medication box solution is easily customizable according to each individual elderly's preferences (e.g. size of the box, the color of the box, packing habits, etc). Furthermore, most existing solutions require the elderly to repack their prescribed medication into daily doses. However, our survey results indicate that most elderly do not have the habit of packing their medication into daily or weekly doses.


We have currently deployed the medication boxes in 10 homes in Marine Terrace, as of March 2016. There are future plans to deploy 14 more medication boxes under the Community for All Ages (CFAA) @ Bedok program. 

Please refer to our FAQs section for more information.


Last updated on 30 Aug 2018 .