Are you complying now?

New Hampshire public radio reports on a Nudge-like project at MIT to cut medical costs and improve patient compliance for tuberculosis drugs. Tuberculosis is an expensive disease to treat because 1) Patients must take drugs for six months or risk boosting the spread of drug-resistant strains, and 2) because health care workers are often assigned to patients to ensure they follow their regimens.

MIT has combined technology with free cell phone minutes to boost compliance.

Each day, patients take a urine test using filter paper produced by a timed-release dispenser. The paper reacts to metabolites of the TB drug isoniazid. If the metabolites are present, the filter paper displays a code which the patient texts directly to a database. Those who miss fewer than five of their pills each month receive free call time for their cellphones.

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