In the Internet of Things world, the flashy projects get a lot of attention. Fleet management that keeps millions of trucks truckin’ across the country, smart grid applications that power cities more efficiently – these may be the IoT’s big wins, but just as important are the small, but essential services that the Internet of Things is bringing to everyday lives. Such as monitored pillboxes for seniors and people with chronic conditions.
People over 55 may take five or more prescription drugs each day, according to reports, and diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and heart conditions affect many others. All of this necessitates sorting out often complicated regimens of pills, some of which should be taken at the morning or at night or with food. Add in the further complication of memory loss or being assisted by a loved one or professional caregiver, and the need for tools to ease the situation becomes apparent.
IoT technology is beginning to make many people’s lives easier with the advent of the connected pillbox. These are simple devices that can track if a container has been opened at a specified time. In addition, an alert can be sent – such as by text or email – to a caregiver as a reminder or warning. Different systems have their own features that may suit various scenarios, but all have the intent of helping patients take their medications on a regular schedule.
One system, the MedFolio Pillbox, lights up with a the green circle on the front when it’s time to take the medication. And inside the pillbox, one compartment lights up to show the pill that’s due to be taken.
Another medication management system, by MedSignals, can announce reminders in English and one other language (such as Spanish), as well as having Braille on the buttons. This device sends medication adherence data via email, text, or phone alerts to authorized care managers.
More IoT-enabled medication monitoring tools are in the works -- in fact, computer science students at the recent San Jose State University IoT Workshop co-sponsored by Aeris invented their own twist on an IoT pill bottle. Watch this video where the students describe their product and its innovative features.
IoT deployments don’t have to be huge to make a big impact, nor are they just toys and distractions. These healthcare devices show how IoT can truly enhance people’s quality of life.