Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How is the medication box beneficial?
Based on engagements with our stakeholders (who include medical professionals and caregivers), a medication box that can monitor medication consumption is important for different groups of elderly.
● In the most extreme case, an elderly with certain types of the chronic illness might require very regular medication intake throughout the day. It is thus essential for the caregiver to be notified in real-time, whenever the elderly misses a dosage. This also reduces manpower cost, as the caregiver can reduce the number of visits to the elderly (if medication intake is normal).
● With long-time tracking, we can also tell when an elderly's medication consumption habits change, which can indicate impending health issues. Caregivers can then be notified to provide pre-emptive interventions, whenever necessary.
Q: What is unique about this medication box, as compared to other solutions on the market?
Our medication box is unique in the following ways:
● Customizable according to individual elderly's preferences (e.g. size of the box, the color of the box, packing habits, etc). This is done by retrofitting off-the-shelf boxes with our sensors.
● Minimizes changes in the elderly's medication habits. Most existing solutions require elderly to repack their medication into daily doses; however, survey results indicate that most elderly in Singapore do not pack their medication into daily or weekly doses.
● Provides an end-to-end solution comprising the medication box, daily email reports to caregivers, real-time visualization of medication consumption of each elderly, and analytics. We will be adding SMS alerts for caregivers in the upcoming iteration of the medication box solution.
Q: What is the technology behind the medication box?
It is based on reed switch technology. When the medication box is opened, the reed switch sensor is activated. The sensor will then transmit data to the 3G-enabled gateway, which will then forward the data to our backend servers.
Q: Does the medication box require mains power?
The medication box runs on batteries and does not require mains power. In this first version of the prototype, the sensor battery can last for about 3 to 4 months (with a usage of about 3 times a day). We are currently working on an improved version that will allow the battery to last for up to a year.
However, the medication box requires a gateway, to transmit data to the server. The gateway has to be connected to main power and consumes less than SGD1 per month.
Q: What if an elderly opens the medication box, but does not consume the medication?
Currently, only image-based solutions (e.g. cameras) or ingestible sensors, are able to tell very accurately that the elderly has consumed the medication. However, most elderly are not comfortable with having cameras at home, and ingestible sensors are still quite costly. Hence, the next best solution is to have inferred medication adherence based on our sensing technology.
Q: Where can I buy the medication box?
Currently, our medication boxes are available only for our elderly who are living in Marine Parade and Bedok, and who wish to participate in our research study as part of the SHINESeniors project. We hope to be able to make the solution more widely available in the near future.
Q: What’s next?
We are working on miniaturizing the sensors, improving the battery life, as well as allowing for medication monitoring even when the elderly brings the medication out. We are also working very closely with caregivers and medical professionals, to quantify the effectiveness of medication monitoring and interventions.
Last updated on 30 Aug 2018 .