Not a day goes by when we don’t learn of yet another application for mobile phones in healthcare. The list includes using mobile phones to diagnose and manage health-related conditions, to monitor subjects participating in clinical trials, and to conduct remote consultations with physicians and other caregivers. 

In mid-November 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s Abilify MyCite for what is perhaps the boldest use of digital technology in healthcare: a pill that is integrated with an ingestible sensor that captures information about whether the patient has complied with her medication regimen. L.E.K. Consulting believes that this approval — a first for digital medicine — will be seen as a landmark in patient-centered care. 

In this Executive Insights, we discuss how digital medicine could help solve three core problems bedeviling the development and the delivery of healthcare around the world. We also examine the two key challenges that face digital pill adoption: skepticism about new technology and privacy concerns.