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PillDrill Uses RFID to Bring Peace of Mind

The system is designed to simplify medication adherence for patients, and to reassure caregivers and loved ones.
By Nathaniel Prince
Dec 07, 2016

Earlier this year, a company called PillDrill launched an RFID-enabled pill-dispensing system designed to help patients manage their medications and monitor their well-being. The solution, also known as PillDrill, is based around a device called a Hub, which contains a built-in RFID reader. Users can attach passive RFID tags to pill bottles, pill packs and other types of medicine containers. The company also offers an RFID-enabled weekly pill organizer consisting of seven removable pill containers (pods), each with its own RFID tag attached to its base.

Once a person's medication schedule is programmed into the PillDrill website, the Hub flashes a light and emits a tone whenever it is time for a user to take his or her pills, and its large LCD screen displays precise dosage information. To indicate that the dosage has been taken, the patient waves the appropriate pill container over the Hub.

A patient waves a pill container above the Hub to indicate that he or she has taken a dosage.
This information is forwarded to the PillDrill server via a Wi-Fi-based internet connection, enabling loved ones or caretakers to receive notifications through a smartphone app, in order to help ensure drug compliance. The PillDrill app, compatible with Apple iPhones and iPads, can be downloaded at the iTunes website (a version for Android smartphones is currently in the works). Alternatively, caretakers can receive notifications via SMS text messages and e-mail.

Also part of the system is the Mood Cube, which is printed with the images of five faces, each depicting a different emotional state, to correspond with a user's current frame of mind or pain level: Great, Good, OK, Bad and Awful. A patient merely swipes the applicable face to register his or her current mood. This helps users and their caretakers to understand how medications are affecting them, by tracking patterns over time and correlating how they feel with what they're taking.

The PillDrill kit consists of the Hub, 12 RFID tags, two weekly pill organizers (one for mornings, the other for evenings) and a Mood Cube.

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