Proper dispensation of medication is crucial to the well being of patients. Indeed incorrect dispensation can often prove life threatening. Proper dispensation is also a matter of great concern to carers and love ones and surprisingly, is even a problem in hospitals. Dose administration is of major concern for an aging population. For example, users with epilepsy have 81% adherence for one pill a day dropping to 39% for four pills a day.
Dosalert is an electronic medicine dispensation cabinet that allows patients or carers to program daily medication doses on a weekly basis. It is designed to minimise accidental non-adherence to a medication schedule. Dosalert has a simple programmable interface and provides electronic stimuli such as audio beeps and flashing LEDs to remind patients that a dose is either absent or pending. Dosalert promotes the independence of the patient because it can be programmed on a weekly basis and can provide timely reminders to the patient. Most importantly, Dosalert is equipped with a detachable tower of draws that can be carried by the patient during daily outings. For medication requiring refrigeration a more advanced model can be provided in which electronic notifications are external to the refrigerator.
Future generations of Dosalert will also promote independence by back-to-base monitoring to carers and patient wireless surveillance. It is clear that Dosalert can also be marketed to patients on any kind of medication e.g. woman on the contraceptive pill. Dosalert is applicable for all patients on medication. However it can be used independently by most patients which are 65-85 year olds living in the community on 3 or more meds a day who are mentally normal or mildly forgetful. Dosalert can also be employed in hospitals by nursing staff or by pharmacists involved in the active care of their patients: for example as an alternative to simple plastic cabinets or Webster packs. A synopsis of the available dosage administrations aids and their limitations can be found at http://www.australianprescriber.com/magazine/37/2/article/1493.pdf.
Dosalert can be built and sold at a profit for $99. Carers and patients will buy Dosalert for its reusability, portability and their peace of mind and increased independence compared to existing dosage administration aids. We address the following limitations of existing aids. ● Forgetfulness ● A wider variety of medicines including large pills, liquids and pills that need to be kept separate. ● Filled by the user so they retain autonomy. ● Good for impaired dexterity and eye-sight. ● No risk of spillage during removal from the aid.
Electronic dispensation systems already exist (e.g. http://www.tabtime.com/automatic-weekly-dispeners.html). However market penetration of these electronic systems is extremely low at this stage and our device differs in that can be extended to back-to-base reporting and also patient monitoring by long range wireless surveillance.
Dosalert can be manufactured locally and sold to patients, carers, pharmacists either directly or on-line. Currently, Dosalert can be marketed to at least 1 million Australians.
Melissa Robbie is a practicing pathologist who has many years experience in the medical sector. Gerard Borg is an electrical engineer who is working in the education sector.