Monday, February 11, 2008

A smart pillbox to educate people

Ergonomic design for product and patients ...

"A major challenge in public health is that people do not take their medications, a phenomenon known as ‘medication non-adherence.’ In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that this accounts for 10% of all hospital visits and costs the U.S. healthcare system $100 billion per year and $60 billion to the pharmaceutical industry. Now, a MIT research team thinks it has a solution to this problem and that it also will save lives worldwide. They’ve developed the uBox, a convenient, palm-sized, intelligent pill dispenser, ‘which reminds a patient when it is time to take his medication, records when a patient has taken a dose, and prevents a patient from double-dosing.’ The first large scale trial with 100 uBoxes is scheduled to begin in May 2008 in Bihar, India. The uBox will be used in a 6-month long tuberculosis (TB) treatment program. But read more…

... In fact, the team developed what they called “a high-tech solution in a simple, inexpensive and easy-to-use-package” with two major components. “The first part of the two-component system is a kind of “smart” pillbox, called the uBox. It has 14 chambers that can each be loaded with several pills, which it dispenses from one chamber per day. To alert the patient that it’s time to take the medicine, the box flashes its lights and sounds a buzzer. When the compartment is opened, the uBox records the exact time and prevents double-dosing by refusing to open again until the next treatment is due. After two weeks, a health care worker reloads the box and digitally records and transmits the information stored in it. Doctors and public health services can then get complete data on compliance, patient by patient, in almost real time, instead of having to wait until the end of the six-month treatment.”

But there is a second component. “The second part of the group’s new system is a cell phone, called the uPhone. By using special software, health care workers can record a patient’s temperature, weight, and answers to a list of questions related to symptoms, which adds to the set of detailed patient data analyzed by doctors monitoring the study. By looking at patterns of effects, the doctors can tell which field workers are achieving the best adherence rates with their patients and find out just what it is that those people are doing right. They can then be recruited to train additional workers.”
"    (Continued via ZDNet.com)    [Ergonomics Resources]

uBox - Ergonomics

uBox

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