Inspiration

Medicine Effectively Distributed Between Users Daily. MedBud. Our team saw a need in the medical field and decided to develop an App to effectively address it. According to a study published through Mayo Clinic in 2011, more than 50% of people who are prescribed medications do not take their medications as prescribed. Because of the lack of adherence to medication prescriptions, many people do not realize the full benefits of the medication they are being prescribed. There are also those who forget to take their medication, or are unable to take care of themselves independently. Unfortunately, some of those people who fall into that category are sometimes elderly, disabled, or do not have any immediate family around them to assist them.

We wanted to find a way to ensure that anyone would be able to have a method of being reminded to take their medication. With that, we also wanted to develop a way to ensure that if someone was not being adherent to their prescription, they would be able to have someone look after them, whether it be their family, caretaker, or physician.

With our ever-growing developments in the fields of medicine and technology, treatments for different diseases are becoming more and more effective. We want to make sure that everyone can have a chance at reaping the full benefits of the medication they are being prescribed, for the more adherent a person is to their medication, the more likely he or she will not have to have medical attention due to a pre-existing condition.

With one of our team members being a pre-medicine student who has EMT experience, as well as experience working in the Emergency Room, he stressed that the number of people who come into the ER in critical condition due to medication inherence is very high. In extreme cases, people have lost their lives because they forget to take their medication. To avoid such tragedies, our team wanted to develop a precautionary app that would serve as a checkpoint for people taking medications. Through MedBud, patient’s adherences to medications can be monitored by others, ensuring that everyone and anyone always has someone looking out for them.

What it does

MedBud was created through the interactions between Android App, Alexa Skills, and Cloud Services. Through the use of skills developed for Amazon’s Alexa, a person will be able to verbally communicate, and effectively record their level of adherence to their prescribed medication on a daily basis. Alexa will then take their responses and store them in a Cloud Database hosted through Amazon Web Services. Whoever is looking after the person will have access to an Android App, which will display the medications which the patient was supposed that day, the dosage, and the time(s) they were supposed to take it. The app will also tell the User whether the patient took all of his or her medications that day. One common reason for people to not adhere to their medication is also because they do not have someone to take care of them. In a case like this, MedBud would be able to effectively connect a person in such a scenario with a caregiver to ensure that everyone using this product would have someone looking after them. Additionally, we have also integrated the use of IFTT and IOT devices to create another method of showing the user a person has been adhering to their medications that day or not.

How we built it

We built this product through the integration of Alexa Skills, Amazon Web Services, Android Apps, and IFTT/IOT. We started this process by creating a skill that would allow for the Amazon Alexa to ask the patient about his or her medications, dosage, and whether he or she took their medications that day. The skill would then record those answers by sending them to a database hosted by Amazon Web Services. From there, an app was developed for Androids using Android Studio to pull information from the database and display it on an Android App. Through the User Interface of the app, the user would be able to select the day/month, and determine whether a person was adhering to his or her medications. To take this one step further, we then decided to create a program that would use the Amazon Alexa system to control IOT through the use of IFTT. This then would provide a simple and effective visual feedback for users to determine whether the person he or she is taking care of was adhering to their medication or not.

Challenges we ran into

One of the biggest challenges we ran into while working on this product was creating the link between the database hosted on Amazon Web Services and the Amazon Alexa, as well as to the Android App. This process took quite a few hours for us to debug, but ultimately became a huge learning experience for all members of the team.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of what we were able to produce in the time parameters given to us. With a team composed of two Computer Science Majors, and one Biomedical Engineering, pre-medicine student, we all came from very different backgrounds when thinking about the direction we wanted to take on developing our product. We were able to effectively integrate our experiences in medicine and programming to come up with a product that we feel would be able to make a difference in the medical field. Looking specifically at our evolving technology, IOT devices are becoming more and more popular each day, and it was quite enjoyable to be able to work with Smart Lights, and create a connection with Alexa Skills and Android App that ultimately ended with the creation of MedBud.

What we learned

Through the entire process, each and every one of us learned a lot about both the medical field, as well as programming. The pre-medical student was able to share some of his experiences in the medical field, and use that in aiding the direction in which MedBud grew. The Computer Science students were able to learn more about Alexa Skill integration with Android Apps and Amazon Web Services. Our pre-medicine student with no experience in Android App development downloaded Android Studio at the beginning of the Hackathon, and by the end, had worked on the Front-End Interface of the Android App. We were all amazed at how we were able to integrate different devices and programs with each other, but also at all the new skills we developed going through this process. We also learned quite a bit about the potential for this product, and what we could do to take this product to the next level.

What's next for MedBud

Our hope is to continue working on MedBud and make it more effective and streamline. We want to be able to make the Android App more informative about the patient’s adherence to medication, and even start to offer methods for which Amazon Alexa would be able to directly contact the caregiver or Medical Services if a person has been non-adherent to his or her medication. We also want to integrate a method of diagnosing a patient’s symptoms if he or she has not been adhering to medication. This would allow for the patient to understand the reasons behind his or her current state of health, but also serve as a method of reinforcing the positives of adhering to medication. After implementing this, we would also want to find a way to monitor vital signs on a patient, so that if a patient is, or could be in a condition requiring medical services, it would be done effectively. Further implementation of IOT devices would also allow for users to be alerted more quickly of a person’s non-adherence to medication, or potentially critical condition if something were to happen to him or her. Ultimately, the end goal for this product is to make it an effective method of not only tracking and reinforcing adherence to prescribed medication, but also a safety net for the health of those using the product.

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