We are a nation of pill takers.
Roughly half of all Americans have taken at least one prescription drug in the last 30 days (21.8% have taken three or more), and almost three-quarters of all doctor visits result in a prescription, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Managing those pills takes work and, increasingly, technology.
PillDrill is, potentially, the kind of medication management you’re looking for. The blue and white, $199 product comes with a roll-sized hub that features a largish, monochrome screen and a few buttons, a Mood Cube, two pill strips and a dozen NFC tags (and a free app). All of this combines for what PillDrill CEO Peter Havas calls a medicine management system that “does not require you to change habits.”
Image: lance ulanoff/mashable
The system is pretty simple to use. The NFC tags, labeled A-through-N, get attached to the bases of your medicine bottles. You can also put your prescriptions in the pill holders sitting in the strips. The strips are useful for those who have daily doses of multiple pills. If you have to take two doses a day, you can use both strips. Each container in the strip has an embedded tag.
In the app, you connect each tag and container to your medicines and dosages.
The hub is there to remind you to take your meds. It’s connected to the app via home Wi-Fi, so it knows which letters are attached to which medicine bottles and containers. When you take your medicine you wave the bottle or container over the little NFC reader symbol on the hub and it notes that you’ve taken the pills. The hub can also notify family members anywhere in the world, via text, that you’ve taken your pills. If you’re traveling and leave the hub behind, you can manage your pill intake with the app, which will remind you just like the hub does.
The mood cube is an interesting, additional concept. It works the same way as the tags, but the different sides have different moods: awful, bad, good, great. You choose the side and wave it over the reader. It's then registered and, if you choose, transmitted to concerned family members.
Image: lance ulanoff/mashable
Havas told me that all this communication via text helps avoid uncomfortable conversations with family members. You don’t have to nag them about taking their meds, because you know they have, and you don’t have to worry if they’re feeling unwell or depressed, because they’ve told you—through the system—that they’re good. Obviously, family members can lie and wave the pill cases and mood cube over the hub without feeling good or taking their pills, but that’s why you also pick up the phone.
You can, Havas told me, buy more tags, if you need them, and order more strips. Each one has seven containers (for seven days of the week). Havas knows there’s growing competition out there. He’s aware, for instance, of the Hero pill dispensing robot, which he thought was impressive, but limited. It can only handle pills and can’t, for instance, dispense insulin. PillDrill’s tags can go on any medication.
The system ships in May, but you can pre-order now.