One of the cool things I saw in the vendor area at the mHealth 2013 Summit was the MedSignals Smart Pill Box by VitalSignals.
The pill box tells you when to take your pills and a whole lot more. Not only is there a reminder alarm, but the display shows important information like how many to take, important information (like take with food) and warnings (like may cause drowsiness).
The device communicates with other medical devices, like blood pressure monitors, scales and the like. Information can also be uploaded to a physician’s patient file. All this means it not only reminds people to take their medications; there’s also some level of monitoring involved to determine if medications are actually being consumed, and if are they working.
The device will also send alerts to family members. While that’s certainly useful, in a conversation with Jerome Hahn, the CTO of the company, he told a moving story about how the product helped a family member.
His mother was a user of the device, and he was one of the family members set up to receive alerts. He said his mom was diligent about taking her meds, so when he received a warning that she hadn’t taken something, he knew to pay attention. Since he lived nearby, he dropped by his mom’s house, only to discover that she had fallen and broken several vertabrae.
It doesn’t take much imagination to think of what would happen if he hadn’t received the alert.
This device and the story are very much in line with one of the themes I observed at the summit. It’s not enough to create a device. Human interaction with the devices are key.
Unfortunately, this particular device is not yet available for consumer purchase. It’s pending FDA approval and is only available for research purposes, but I’m hoping it will get that approval. I thought it looked like a fantastic device.