The pill bottle was probably invented a few days after the first pill was lost; however, not much has changed in the basic form and function of this container.
On September 26 through 27 in 2015, Centric participated in the inaugural Cleveland Medical Hackathon at the Global Center for Health Innovation. The goal was to build an app in 24 hours that would improve care, reduce costs and enhance the overall patient experience.
The team included experienced hackers and first-timers, and not all developers. So what did this disparate group think of the event? What were the lessons learned? In this series of articles, hear their unique perspective on this enlightening event.
The concept behind ManageRx was to tweak the pill bottle by adding a low-cost Bluetooth sensor to it. The goal of our project was to improve the efficacy and track of when patients take their medication. In a short phrase: make sure patients are taking the right medication at the right time.
Our team was made up of technologists, healthcare subject matter experts, project managers, and marketing mavens. We also had an assist from one of the vendors (SmartRx) at the HIMSS center who provided us with a few pill bottles and unique perspective on the prescription filling market.
- Prior to arriving in Cleveland, the team did some investigation on topics such as:
- Open source medication databases (Open FDA)
- Data visualization for healthcare
- Existing products in the pill bottle monitoring space
- Challenges faced by healthcare providers in monitoring medication intake
- Metrics on the number of medications prescribed in the US each year
Once on the ground in Cleveland, our team set to work on the solution and the business case. On the solution side, we had several components to build:
- A mobile app to keep track of a patient’s medications
- A server app to gather analytics on a patient’s adherence to taking those medications as prescribed
- An algorithm to detect when a pill bottle was lifted and the cap removed
- A set of web services to read medications from the Open FDA database
On the business side, we dug deeper on the metrics on prescription medication:
- Total population of US patients on prescription medication
- Patients fitting the “polypharmacy” profile
- At risk patient populations
- Potential market revenue
- Costs to roll out the solution
- Competitive landscape
During the whole process, we received great feedback from the mentors, judges, and even a lawyer who advised us on any potential FDA testing concerns with our “device.” Late on Saturday evening, we began preparing our presentation and finalizing our demo. By 7 a.m. on Sunday, we had a working demo and a presentation that could be casually read in about 15 minutes. We then set about condensing the presentation and demo down to 5 minutes, a monumental task. By the time our name was called to take the podium, our team was exhausted by excited to present our idea. The resulting 5 minutes were a blur or slides, screenshots, and statistics which hopefully came across as a compelling argument for an improved pill bottle.
When it was over, everyone on our team agreed that we were better for the experience, met a lot of people with great ideas, and walked away with the start of a good idea that we will definitely build upon in the near future.
Thank you to James Krause, the city of Cleveland and the HIMSS center for putting on a great event!