Inspiration

All of us on the team have either forgotten to take their medication, or have family members (especially older family members) who have. This is a scary fact, considering that lack of adherence to minimum intake of prescriptions "is estimated to cause approximately 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, and to cost the American health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion a year." [1] Drugs are only effective for those that take them, and its a scary thought that “... approximately 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed.” [1] Our goal is to introduce a cheap, all-in-one package that makes it easy to remember to take your medications, requiring as little setup as possible, and simple routine updates to keep your dosages and intake amount up to date. This is especially helpful for those that are still independent but let life distract them, or those that need only minor monitoring in their daily/weekly routine. This can personally benefit our parents and grandparents especially, as it cuts down on costs of needing attending help (or involving family) while preserving their self-confidence of living by themselves.

What it does

This early iteration offers two distinct features:

  1. The ability to detect and be notified of medicine cabinet/drawer access (or lack thereof) so reminders can be sprung, or theft can be detected. (theft of medication from elderly patients is especially high [2])
  2. An app that offers a simplistic "tap and go" system of taking your medication. Streamlining the process to avoid unnecessary steps in what should be a simple routine: a button into a checklist system is provided that auto-navigates away once completed. Provided information include drug names, user-entered dosages, and logs of when they were taken by means of a calendar, especially handy if medication is not meant to be taken every day.

How we built it

For the hardware: Using Python and C along with a magnetic sensor rigged to a Raspberry Pi (which can easily be replaced with a smaller, task-specific alternative), we are able to detect the state of the drawer/cabinet door. For the software: Using React-Native and JavaScript, we programmed the cross-platform companion app.

Challenges we ran into

React-Native is a very different beast than React, and only one member of our team has prior JavaScript and React experience, and one member with hardware experience. Tasks of database, hardware, and front-end development being split among our devs was a challenge due to experience levels, but it was a welcome one. Secondly, the sensor is very low-power, and we had trouble getting the voltage high enough for registering, but this was solved.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

None of us came here expecting to make an app, so getting one produced that we felt offered the right experience was a nice feeling. Solving the hardware issue was also very appreciated, since that was a fundamental part of our experience and PoC.

What we learned

For almost all of our team, this was the first time using JavaScript at all, and React-Native was new to all of us. We encouraged all our devs to do things that they were not familiar with but get help from those that were so the learning experience was as big as it could be for this project.

What's next for MedMonitor

Ideally, we clean up the UI and implement as streamlined a process that is very easy to digest both for medical professionals and those taking care of this themselves. An idea we had but lacked the physical resources to implement involved re-usable NFC tags for prescription bottles, so that you can tap the bottle to your phone and it read off the name and how many you should take, streamlining information flow away from the screen, and allowing for bigger UI elements. We already designed the backbone for NFC support with available packages, but need actual tags to implement and test the idea. Seeing a small footprint, single-device integration setup would be an alternative roadmap for MedMonitor, and will have to be discussed for future endeavors.

Sources

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22964778 [2] https://www.nnw.org/publication/medication-theft-protecting-our-most-vulnerable-neighbors

Share this project:

Updates