Electronic medication adherence technologies: Classification to guide use in the older adult


Medication non-adherence in the older adult population can be attributed to several factors, including a decline in physical and cognitive functioning. There is a plethora of electronic medication aids that are designed to increase medication adherence. These technologies range from simple alarms integrated into pill boxes to cloud-based pill dispensers that connect the patient to caregivers and care providers and allow for remote monitoring of medication compliance. Due to the wide variety of medication aids available on the market, health care providers may not know which products best suit their patient’s individual needs.


This project aimed to:

1) systematically find and classify available electronic medication adherence technologies (EMATs) and

2) to determine how these EMATs would impact adherence based on the different aspects of medication management (physical and cognitive limitations, caregiver stress etc.) they address.

Summary of findings

A total of 80 electronic medication adherence technologies were identified and classified as being available to assist the older adult population with medication adherence. Our comprehensive EMATs list and scale will enable clinicians to recommend an EMAT based on patient specific limitations and needs. The use of EMATs to increase adherence can potentially reduce medication errors, emergency department visits and the need to shift to a retirement home/long term care facility. However, additional research is necessary to establish effect of EMATs on adherence, medication errors and resource utilization.

Project members: 
Undergraduate Fellow
Faculty Supervisor
Project start date:
December, 2016
Last updated: January 08, 2017