Over the last few years, healthcare has become one of the most important aspects of modern society. HealthCare has enabled people to improve their lives by treating several diseases, thereby keeping them always healthy. However, various problems affect the treatment process and can result in a negative outcome if not addressed properly. One of the issues that affect people during their treatment is taking medicine. Some people are usually very busy and they forget to take medicine. Others are affected by diseases or old age, which affects their adherence to medication. A lack of proper adherence is associated with various negative outcomes such as the emergence of drug-resistant infections and decreased effectiveness of the medicine, which can cause a patient’s condition to worsen (Brown, & Bussell, 2011). Therefore, there is a need to help patients to adhere to their medicine. “The traditional collaboration tools previously introduced are based on Internet technologies.” In a sense, the Internet of Things presents an opportunity for solving the problem by using a smart device to assist patients in keeping up with their medication. The Internet of Medical Things is a version of the Internet of Things used in the medical care environment. As such, it is a designation of interconnected medical-grade devices that enable communication. This paper proposes the creation of a smart medication bottle that can assist patients to adhere to their medication. The device will be imperative in ensuring that patients do not forget to take their medication because of chronic illnesses or old age. It will also present an excellent opportunity for future improvement of similar devices.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is one of the five megatrends in the world. The other four include big data, cloud computing, social networking, and mobile phones. The technology is ubiquitous and can assist companies in obtaining an in-depth comprehension of individual customers to deliver individualized value propositions. It also helps in building long-term relationships with clients. The technology is disruptive to the point that application and device behavior may place worrying and new demands on mobile networks. The expected revenue will majorly arrive from providing value-added services. This has pushed significant companies to build new capabilities to enable new areas of service. An example is the deployment of 5G technology in the context of the current world (Magsi et al., 2018). The Internet of Things is presenting an excellent opportunity for models of commerce to help in support of global mass deployment. There is a need to meet the needs of clients with consistency in universal services and distribution models. The Internet of Things can become useful in next-generation life-enhancing services in all primary industries.
The Internet of Medical Things is a version of the Internet of Things used in the medical care environment. As such, it is a designation of interconnected medical-grade devices that enable communication. The essence of these devices is to improve patient health. Several of these devices are in use, but they face challenges such as security and reliability (Shin & Hwang, 2017). Medical care systems need to deal with various treatments and diseases, as well as an increasing number of patients. It is imperative to avoid any overload in healthcare infrastructure and reduce medical costs. Efficient solutions have been found in the context of home telemedicine systems. Most of these systems are heterogeneous. They are designed to have a single objective in the context of therapy, such as stroke rehabilitation and remote cardiac monitoring. They have a characteristic that makes them efficient in reducing healthcare infrastructure overload and costs.
Devices used on the Internet of Medical Things need to be secure. Security implies being robust to an external attack or threat because of the nature of the information the devices collect. It is imperative to keep patient data safe in the medical care environment. Safety means that devices used on the Internet of Medical Things should not cause harm in the operating environment. Reliability is a critical concept, and it considers achieving functional objectives in all moments. It means that the system should not be prone to unexpected failure under normal conditions of operation (Guan et al., 2019). The diagnostic nature of systems based on the Internet of Medical Things means that they need to be reliable to guarantee that the collected data will be correct.
Devices on the Internet of Medical Things needed to have specific location tags. It follows the ideology that “most successful Web 2.0 applications embody core Web 2.0 values such as collaboration and social sharing,” which makes security pre-emptive. In this context, the Internet of Medical Things is measured bound to be distributed, which means that there is a need for ubiquitous validation and verification protocols on various granularity levels. These devices rely on accurate models based on hybrid frameworks. Notably, they intersect the physical and digital world, which means that they need precise computing abstractions and precise physical models (Alsubaei, Abuhussein, & Shiva, 2017). The reliance on these models is crucial in improving procedures for testing by using simulations. The systems require a device layer, integration layer, and application-layer. Each of these should have reliability, safety, and security to ensure optimal functionality.
A smart medication bottle would enable people to remember to take their medication at the appropriate time. The smart bottle is offered with medication and is refillable at the pharmacy. It will be connected to a mobile device via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signal. The device would then send reminders to the mobile phone through a mobile application reminding a patient to take their medicine. The mechanism for recording medicine has been taken by a patient involves checking whether the bottle has been opened by the patient after a reminder is sent. If the bottle is not opened within a span of fifteen minutes, the device can then alert the mobile phone to display another reminder and send another one to a next of kin or a designated individual, who will remind the patient to take their medication. The smart bottle will also monitor drug intake and advise the patient to refill the bottle if required. Thus, it will offer convenience to the patient in a variety of ways.
Currently, the market has a similar device that is known as the smart pillbox. It can contain more than one drug and sends reminders to patients in the form of sound and light (Elliegrid, n.d.). In addition, it can also track usage of medication to generate reports that can then be used by medical professionals to However, it requires the patient to constantly keep refilling the pillbox in a predefined manner according to the various sections in the box. Such a process is cumbersome for older as well as busy people because it increases the activities required for daily operations. Moreover, an individual can forget to fill the box entirely, which will still cause the problem of forgetting their medication. Further, the device is currently expensive to acquire, which means that it is only accessible to a few individuals who can afford it. Therefore, there is a need for a better drug management device that is affordable, helpful to patients and it is easy to use.
Consequently, the smart bottle is designed to fulfill the various gaps that are not addressed by the smart pillbox. For example, instead of being a separate container, the smart bottle contains the medication. In addition, instead of having several drugs in a single container, which increases the chances of confusion especially for mentally ill patients, the smart bottle contains only one drug at a time like normal medication. It will help reduce misuse because a person is not likely to confuse the required drugs. The smart bottle attempts to mimic the way medicine has traditionally been used in order to ensure that patients are still able to work with the product. Moreover, since it is filled and programmed at the pharmacy if needed, there is no need for the daily set up that is required by the current device in the market. Further, the medication will not be transferred from one location to another except when the patient is taking it. Thus, it will promote the safe storage of medicine as opposed to the current devices in the market, which require the patient to remove the medication from the original packet. Additionally, the smart bottle will also be equipped with alerts of opening the bottle before time. In this case, it will help prevent cases of prescription drug overdose by alerting a preprogrammed individual about the issue. The feature will also help keep children safe because the alerted individual will have to check and confirm that no harmful activity is happening after they receive an alert. Thus, these features will improve the usage and functionality of the device compared to the current ones in the market.
The smart medication device will be used in the dispensation of liquid medication to patients. This means that individuals will be given medicine in droplets and this would be measured in millilitres. The smart medication device can also be used for the dispensation of tablets to various patients.
The primary target market for the device is the elderly. They are more likely to be managing chronic illnesses as well as experiencing forgetfulness and hence skip taking medicine at various times of the day. The device will make life for these people easier by handling medication time as well as filling prescriptions so that they can focus on other issues in their lives. The device will also be recommended for people who are busy and often forget to take their medicine after visiting their doctor.
The smart bottle has various benefits to the healthcare market. First, it will help reduce the cost of healthcare in general as it will eliminate some of the medication errors that occur. In addition, it will help form an interactive healthcare system, whereby the patients and their families are involved. For example, when acquiring drugs with a smart bottle for the first time, a patient must identify a contact person, who will receive alerts in case of the various expected abnormal occurrences such as failure to take medicine or opening it at the wrong time. In most cases, the individual is usually a family member and their involvement will help to improve care. Further, patient data will also lead to the identification of their needs such as changing, lowering or increasing medication among other factors since the doctor will be able to know whether a patient is adhering to medication or not. Finally, by monitoring a patient’s habits using data collected from the smart bottle initiative, doctors will also be able to prevent health complications by advising the patient to change their lifestyle among other strategies.
The smart bottle solves a problem in the healthcare market by enhancing an existing process. It solves the problem of medication non-adherence due to forgetfulness of the patients. It enhances the process of issuing prescriptions and medication to patients by introducing a new reusable storage device for medicine. The device will remind patients to adhere to the drug regimens while also easing the process of prescription.
Support to Ecommerce
The smart bottle supports both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) electronic commerce. In B2B, retail pharmacies will be able to plan their orders from wholesalers depending on the number of customers. The retail pharmacies will be able to monitor the rate of drug consumption by their customers based on the reports from the device and the requests they get. On the other hand, in B2C, retailers will ensure that they always have the required medication in stock. Therefore, patients will never lack their medication whenever they require it. Finally, the smart bottle can also be equipped with the capability to order prescriptions, whenever they go low thereby ensuring a constant supply. The strategy is appropriate for patients managing long term illnesses such as diabetes among others.
Pros and Cons
A benefit of the smart bottle is the lowering of healthcare costs. First, it will reduce the chances of medication errors in hospitals, which increases healthcare costs. In addition, patients will not have to retake their doses due to missed days because the smart bottle will help them keep their medication intake on track. Furthermore, there will be low chances of overdose because concerned individuals will be alerted of abnormal activity in connection with the smart bottle and hence make efforts to find out whether there is a problem.
However, there are various limitations that the device could face. For example, the constant alerts to the patient as well as the identified individual such as next of kin may become disruptive to some people. In addition, as Gubbi, Buyya, Marusic, and Palaniswami (2013) explain, IOT will result in the generation of large amounts of data, which leads to data storage issues. Finally, the smart bottle may open avenues for abuse. Case in point, one of the contributors to the recent opioid crisis is the aggressive marketing tactics used by pharmaceutical companies (Rummans, Burton, & Dawson, 2018). The smart bottle may result in an emergence of new marketing strategies that might disadvantage the patients. Data collection should be approached with caution in order to protect the interest of the patients. As Valacich and Schneider (2017) highlight, data security in the era of IoT is paramount and significant steps should be taken to protect it. Therefore, the threat of data security should be taken seriously during the design and development of the proposed device.
The smart bottle is a device that will benefit the various stakeholders in the medical and healthcare sector. It will ensure that patients follow the doctor’s orders regarding the prescribed medicine. The smart bottle will replace the current smart pillbox, which has a few limitations regarding the storage of medicine. Using the smart bottle to ensure compliance with the identified medication routine will help reduce healthcare costs by reducing errors related to patient medicine. Furthermore, data collected from patients will help improve patient treatment since doctors will be able to examine the medical history of the patient from the various user reports that will be generated. Nevertheless, while the smart bottle promises various benefits to patients as well as a few changes to the healthcare system, it is important that the issue of data collection be examined comprehensively in order to ensure that it is secured. Thus, the smart bottle is a device that will be helpful to elder patients and people who have busy schedules. The device will be imperative in ensuring that patients do not forget to take their medication because of chronic illnesses or old age. It will also present an excellent opportunity for future improvement of similar devices.
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