Get the Right Dose


An in-home dispensing machine is helping people stay on track with their meds.

If you saw Disney’s Big Hero 6, you may have left the movie wishing for your own Baymax, the lovable, inflatable healthcare robot that caters to Hiro’s personal needs.

While that may still be a dream, the arrival of personalized, automated medicine dispensing machines is already underway.

Polypharmacy patients, those who take multiple medicines a day, often organize their prescriptions by removing them from primary packaging and placing them instead in daiy or weeky pill boxes, with the unfortunate consequence of separating them from their instructions. Patients or their caretakers must then rely on memory to ensure the right pill is taken at the right time of day.

To support a safer process, researchers from the Pharmaceutical Care Research Group (PCRG) at the University of Basel, Switzerland, have tested the effectiveness of a medication management aid: a dispenser that doles out medicines and includes electronic monitoring that sends reminders, tracks patients’ dosage routines and provides feedback.

The results of the study helped identify target groups for the device, such as those with time-sensitive medication regimens, patients with dementia, the visually impaired and situations where several patients living together are likely to confuse one another’s medicine.

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