Medication is a complicated and costly aspect of healthcare. Over recent years, there has been a trend of “smart” solutions, such as smart pill boxes & dispensers, attempting to improve medication management. But what makes a pill box truly “smart”?
This is a question that our team at EllieGrid has been working to answer over the past two years while developing our very own smart pill box. After speaking with 1,000+ people, our team realized that there are various expectations for what should make a pill box “smart”. In our experience, these expectations vary heavily depending on occupation. For example, engineers expect “smart” to mean sophisticated technology. Doctors expect “smart” to mean it is secure with timed locking mechanisms.
What about the average person?
Our survey’s results and Indiegogo customers suggest that a normal person’s definition of a “smart” pill box is very different. We found that there are 5 qualities that make pill box smart to everyday people.
#1: An Empowering Brand
A brand is the essence of a company or product’s unique identity. A brand should clearly deliver a message as well as emotionally connect with the audience.
Traditional pill boxes are stigmatized for only being used by people who are “sick” or “old”. The problem with this message is that it scares away people who may still benefit from the use of a pill box but don’t want to be associated with these unfair stereotype. A majority of new smart pill boxes and smart pill dispensers are still emotionally stigmatizing and lack a healthy, empowering branded message.
An empowering brand in healthcare should make the audience feel that they have control of their own health and wellness. A smart pill box deserves branding that makes users feel empowered because they are taking their health into their own hands. No one should ever feel stigmatized for taking steps towards a better and healthy life.
At EllieGrid, we are creating an empowering brand for our smart pill box thanks to the feedback from our customers on Indiegogo. Our playful logo, product design, friendly reminders and bright colors are all a part of our brand identity.
If a person is given a product they don’t like, they are less likely to use it, therefore, all the other functionalities become useless. We believe an empowering design and brand make a pill box smart because people are more likely to actually use it.
Medications management is complex but that does not mean your smart pill box has to be.
Traditional pill boxes are simple in the fact that they are made out of plastic but what makes it complicated is setting them up. This requires a great deal of focus in order to organize all the pills correctly. Once the pills are sorted, it is difficult to check for accuracy. Other smart pill boxes have promised simplicity with functionalities such as automatic dispensing but neglect to mention the complexity of setting up their systems in the first place. This process is often times more complex than the traditional pill box.
A simple smart pill box should have a minimal setup process. The setup process for a pill box, case, or dispenser should be easily understood, if not intuitive.
EllieGrid’s smart pill box is centered around simplicity. Rather than trying to solve many of the problems surrounding medication management with advanced engineering, we do so through design. Each compartment in EllieGrid is full of one type of pill. This allows for easy refills. You simply take the bottle and pour the pills into the correct compartment.
If you have ever organized your pills in a pill box or at least witnessed someone else do so, you know what a time-consuming process this can be. It takes a considerable amount of time and focus to organize them for the week if it is a weekly pill box or even longer if organizing a monthly pill box.
Technology, when used wisely, can be leveraged to save one’s valuable time.
Due to EllieGrid’s design, it now takes seconds to organize pills by just pouring them all into separate compartments.
Organizing medications is only a fraction of the problem. Remembering to take one’s medications and vitamins is a challenge in and of itself.
For traditional pill boxes, people typically set reminders on their phone or alarm clocks for when it is time to take their medications or vitamins. Other smart pill boxes have an alarm included.
EllieGrid’s smart pill box sends users a reminder that is customizable through our mobile app. Our users have the option to take the pills at that time, snooze, or turn off the alarm. Whenever it is time to take certain medications, an alarm will ring and lights in the corresponding rectangles will come on. The number of lights that come on for each compartment determines how many pills to take out of each compartment.
The true measure of a pill box’s smart capabilities is whether or not it can track if a user took their pills or not. This is often referred to as adherence. Tracking adherence is very important. Much like how a person tracks their steps to measure their fitness progress, so can a person track their adherence to measure health progress.
Traditional pill boxes can track adherence to a degree. Empty compartments suggest that pills were taken and full ones suggest they were skipped. Family members, loved ones, and caregivers are unable to track this remotely. Some smart medication systems can now track adherence and share it with loved ones and caregivers.
EllieGrid can also track adherence and share adherence information with family members, loved ones, and caregivers if the user wants to. There are simple sensors in EllieGrid that know when the pill box is being opened and closed. If EllieGrid is opened when a reminder is notifying the user to take their pills, it will record that dose as taken. If EllieGrid is opened when it is not time to take a does, the mobile app will ask why the pill box was opened for safety reasons.
Watch our YouTube video to learn more about why tracking adherence is so important to our team.
We would love to hear what features you are most excited about as well as what additional features you would like to see in the future. You can share your thoughts by commenting below!