April 15, 2017 8:28 pm
Updated: April 16, 2017 10:22 am

B.C. startup aims to help seniors take their medications

WATCH: B.C. startup uses technology to help adult children know their aging parents are taking their medication. Nadia Stewart reports.

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A B.C. startup is turning to technology to help adult children facing a common challenge: how to get mom and dad to take their medication.

Co-founder Victor Lesau says it all began with his grandmother.

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“She has multiple chronic conditions and for her, managing that is really tough,” Lesau said. “We started looking for some solutions that could help her manage that, so she could take medications at the right time and looks like everything on the market was too much tech for the seniors, too complex to learn and really hard to manage for the family.”

Lesau’s dilemma is also one pharmacists across Canada struggle with.

“Some studies have shown up to 50 per cent of the Canadian population don’t take their medications as prescribed,” Tarlan Mazarei, a pharmacist at Wellness Pharmacy in Vancouver. When Mazarei and her team learned of a solution developed by Lesau and his colleagues, they were eager to test it out.

It’s called CuePath and it’s a made-in-B.C. smart pill pack. It’s like a typical blister pack but with sensors on the back similar to the anti-theft types found in retail stores. When a pill is or isn’t popped, it sends a signal, alerting family through an app that their loved one either took the wrong dose or missed one.

Mike Alleyne, a caregiver for an ageing loved one, says the technology has been a game-changer for his family.

“We had a two-hour window to be notified if it had been taken or not and it was an easy process to just pick up the phone and make the call and find out why they didn’t take it,” he said.

From week to week, Alleyne says he didn’t have to call as much as compliance improved.

Over 20 pharmacy chains across four provinces and into Washington State took part in the test phase. The creators are now eager to expand — Mazarei already has a waiting list.

“It can improve patients’ condition in general and reduce the cost to the health care system,” Mazarei said.

For Lesau, the success of the technology exceeded his expectations.

“In the beginning we were thinking that I was just going to find the solution to help grandmother and my family,” he said. “Now we know that we can help millions and we’re very happy.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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