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Número de publicaciónUS20080283542 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 11/804,457
Fecha de publicación20 Nov 2008
Fecha de presentación18 May 2007
Fecha de prioridad18 May 2007
Número de publicación11804457, 804457, US 2008/0283542 A1, US 2008/283542 A1, US 20080283542 A1, US 20080283542A1, US 2008283542 A1, US 2008283542A1, US-A1-20080283542, US-A1-2008283542, US2008/0283542A1, US2008/283542A1, US20080283542 A1, US20080283542A1, US2008283542 A1, US2008283542A1
InventoresPriyadarsini Lanka, Sirisha Gudimetla, Saraswati Tumuluri
Cesionario originalPriyadarsini Lanka, Sirisha Gudimetla, Saraswati Tumuluri
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Apparatus for smart medical care
US 20080283542 A1
Resumen
An apparatus, method and system for dispensing medication in a personal health management system are described. The apparatus for dispensing medication is shown. The apparatus includes one or more storage compartments for storing-one or more medications, an input device for inputting data related to the medications, a data storage device configured to store at least the data, an output device operable to message information related to the medications, and a computing device configured to respond to the data, select one or more of the storage compartments for dispensing of the medication, provide information for the output device, and record quantity and frequency of the dispensing in the data storage device. A method is also provided for dispensing medication in accordance with an aspect of the invention. A system utilizing the apparatus in a personal health management system is also shown.
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Reclamaciones(29)
1. An apparatus for dispensing medication comprising:
one or more storage compartments for storing one or more medications, said storage compartments being configured to enable the separate storage of medications in different compartment;
an input device for inputting data related to the medications;
a data storage device configured to store at least said data;
an output device operable to message information related to the medications; and
a computing device configured to respond to said data, select one or more of said storage compartments for dispensing of the medication, provide information for said output device, and record quantity and frequency of said dispensing in said data storage device.
2. The apparatus as recited in claim 1, in which said data comprises a prescription regimen for a user and quantities and types of medication in said one or more storage compartments.
3. The apparatus as recited in claim 2, in which said computing device is further configured to monitor quantities of the medication and message medication refills.
4. The apparatus as recited in claim 2, further comprising a reminder device operable to alert said user of a time for dispensing according to said prescription regimen.
5. The apparatus as recited in claim 2, in which said computing device is further configured to message said user with guidance regarding the medication during said dispensing.
6. The apparatus as recited in claim 5, in which said message is communicated by way of a phone call, email, or a text message.
7. The apparatus as recited in claim 1, in which said computing device is further configured to respond to data corresponding to a plurality of users and record quantity and frequency of dispensing for said users.
8. The apparatus as recited in claim 2, in which said input device and said output device are further configured to communicate to a remote computing device.
9. The apparatus as recited in claim 2, in which said input device is further configured to accept data from a user input means.
10. The apparatus as recited in claim 2, in which said input device is further configured to accept data from one or more biometric measuring devices for a user.
11. The apparatus as recited in claim 10, in which said computing device is further configured to use data from biometric measuring devices to track effectiveness of said prescription regimen.
12. The apparatus as recited in claim 2, in which said computing device is further configured to query said user about health status and store said user's responses to said query.
13. The apparatus as recited in claim 9, in which said input device is further configured to accept data from an identification means associated with one or more of the medications.
14. The apparatus as recited in claim 12, in which said computing device is further configured to transmit data for one of more users to said remote computing device.
15. The apparatus as recited in claim 14, in which said computing device is further configured to receive data regarding medications from said remote computing device.
16. The apparatus as recited in claim 10, in which said output device is further configured to message an emergency service.
17. The apparatus as recited in claim 2, further comprising a selection device operable to automatically dispense the medication from said one or more storage compartments according to said prescription regimen.
18. The apparatus as recited in claim 2, in which said data storage device is further configured to prevent loss of data during a power failure.
19. An apparatus for dispensing medication comprising:
a means for storing the medication;
an input device means for inputting data;
a data storage device means for storing data;
an output device means for messaging information; and
a computing device means operating in conjunction with said input device means, data storage means, and output device means for selecting the medication for dispensing.
20. The apparatus as recited in claim 19, further comprising a means for automatically dispensing the selected medication.
21. A system for personal health management utilizing a medication dispensing apparatus, the system comprising:
one or more biometric measuring devices for a user; and
a health management device configured to accept one or more readings from said measuring devices, recording user data, and storing said one or more readings and said user data in a database, said health management device comprising a medication dispenser, a means for connecting to a remote server, a means for transferring said database to said remote server and a means for alerting said remote server of a medical emergency wherein said remote server responds to said alerting or an emergency situation determined from data in said database by contacting an appropriate emergency responder.
22. The system as recited in claim 16, in which said health management device further comprises a means for storing said database to prevent loss of data due to power interruptions.
23. The system as recited in claim 16, in which said health management device is further configured to receive messages from said remote server and present said messages to said user.
24. The system as recited in claim 16, in which said messages are intended to solicit one or more responses from said user and said health management device is further configured to send said one or more responses to said remote server.
25. The system as recited in claim 22, in which said health management device is further configured to generate a one or more refill requests based upon the amount of medication in the medication dispensing apparatus.
26. The system as recited in claim 22, in which said health management device is further configured to support multiple users.
27. The system as recited in claim 22, in which said medication dispenser comprises an automatic dispenser for the medication.
28. The system as recited in claim 22, further comprising means a vacation medication dispensing unit in which medications are placed into a carry-on unit with one or more compartments, said vacation medication dispensing unit having a relatively small device that is operable to remind a user and monitor the medication usage and either transmits said usage information to said health management device or is suitably configured into said personal health management system to monitor medication even while away.
29. An apparatus for automatic medication dispensing, the apparatus comprising:
a cylindrical pill cabinet comprising a hollow central channel, a plurality of pill compartments arranged circumferentially about said hollow central channel and flanked by poles positioned parallel to said central channel;
a first motor for rotating said pill cabinet about an axis of said central channel;
a dispensing arm comprising a lead screw parallel to said axis and exterior to said pill cabinet, a push nut in operation with said lead screw for traversing a length of said lead screw when said lead screw is rotated, and a plurality of pins arranged in a column perpendicular to said axis and positioned for contacting said push nut;
a second motor for rotating said lead screw to move said push nut to contact a one of said push pins wherein said one push pin is pushed interior to a one of said pill compartments and a pill contained therein is pushed into said hollow channel; and
Descripción
    FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • [0001]
    Not applicable.
  • REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER LISTING APPENDIX
  • [0002]
    Not applicable.
  • COPYRIGHT NOTICE
  • [0003]
    A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office, patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    The present invention relates to devices for personal health monitoring and management, for example, without limitation, the tracking of a user's health indicators and contextual data, emergency response systems, and the storing and dispensing of medication.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    Interviews with physicians and people aging in place indicate that aging people have a difficult time managing their health when living alone. Most of the current technology to address this problem is in the area of pill dispensing devices. One of these devices is a medicine dispenser where medicines are stored in different chambers and a dispensing hole on one of the chambers is used to dispense medication. Another is a medicine dispenser where medicines are stored in bottles.
  • [0006]
    Another medicine dispenser known in the art is a dispenser where medicines are stored in small spaces and the unit is rotated to allow a proper dose to be picked up and dispensed. Another current dispensing system sorts medication on a day-to-day basis and has a logging system for missed medications. These solutions only deal with medicine and dosage and do not monitor any aspects of the user's health status.
  • [0007]
    Other current solutions for personal health management involve health compliance. One known solution relies on the device being connected to a container, from which the device receives information such as, but not limited to, cap openings and dispensed count. Another known solution connects a medication dispensing device to a controller that tells the user how to use medication. However, this solution does not track usage of the medication. Another current solution uses a pager connected to a carriage and a medication dispensing system. This device relies on the remote commands of a pager to dispense medication and is prone to failures in communication systems. Also, these solutions cannot react to emergencies.
  • [0008]
    Yet other current solutions for personal health management relate to health indicators and wellness tracking. One of these solutions comprises a server controlled by the health care provider that downloads a script to the patient client. The server monitors the patient health condition by asking the patient questions. Another health management solution is an apparatus that comprises a device with two sensors that gather two data parameters of a user's status and communicate this information to a computing device that derives additional data from these two parameters. However, these devices do not aid in the usage of medication.
  • [0009]
    In view of the foregoing, there is a need for an improved system for personal health management that can monitor and record the user's health status, aid the user with medication usage, and respond in an emergency.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:
  • [0011]
    FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate an exemplary personal health management device with an automatic medicine dispenser, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1A is a front perspective view of the device, and FIG. 1B is a front perspective view of an exemplary pill dispenser housed within the device;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary personal health management device with a light-guided, self-service medicine dispenser, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 shows the an exemplary typical network for a personal health management device, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary function of a typical personal health management device, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5 illustrates a typical computer system that, when appropriately configured or designed, can serve as a computer system in which the invention may be embodied.
  • [0016]
    Unless otherwise indicated illustrations in the figures are not necessarily drawn to scale.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0017]
    To achieve the forgoing and other objects and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, an apparatus, method and system for dispensing medication in a personal health management system are described.
  • [0018]
    In one embodiment of the invention, an apparatus for dispensing medication is shown. The apparatus includes one or more storage compartments for storing one or more medications, an input device for inputting data related to the medications, a data storage device configured to store at least the data, an output device operable to message information related to the medications, and a computing device configured to respond to the data, select one or more of the storage compartments for dispensing of the medication, provide information for the output device, and record quantity and frequency of the dispensing in the data storage device. In an embodiment the data comprises a prescription regimen for a user and quantities and types of medication in the one or more storage compartments. The computing device can be further configured to monitor quantities of the medication and message medication refills. In another embodiment the apparatus further comprises a reminder device operable to alert the user of a time for dispensing according to the prescription regimen. In another embodiment the computing device is further configured to message the user with guidance regarding the medication during the dispensing. In another embodiment the computing device is further configured to respond to data corresponding to a plurality of users and record quantity and frequency of dispensing for the users. In yet another embodiment the input device and the output device are further configured to communicate to a remote computing device. In another embodiment the input device is further configured to accept data from a user input means. In yet another embodiment the input device is further configured to accept data from one or more biometric measuring devices for a user. The computing device is further configured to use data from biometric measuring devices to track effectiveness of the prescription regimen, in another embodiment. In another embodiment the computing device is further configured to query the user about health status and store the user's responses to the query. In another embodiment the input device is further configured to accept data from an identification means associated with one or more of the medications. In various other embodiments the computing device is further configured to transmit data for one of more users to the remote computing device and the computing device is further configured to receive data regarding medications from the remote computing device. In another the output device is further configured to message an emergency service. In still another embodiment the apparatus further includes a selection device operable to automatically dispense the medication from the one or more storage compartments according to the prescription regimen. In another embodiment the data storage device is further configured to prevent loss of data during a power failure.
  • [0019]
    Means for implementing any of the foregoing functions are also provided.
  • [0020]
    A method is also provided for dispensing medication. In an embodiment the method comprises the steps of providing initial data for a user of a medication dispensing apparatus, storing medicine in the medication dispensing apparatus, providing a schedule for dispensing the medication for the user, waiting for a scheduled time for dispensing the medication or a user input, alerting the user at the scheduled time, waiting for the user to respond to the alerting, determining if to dispense the medication upon the user responding to the alerting, dispensing the medication upon the determination to dispense, recording the dispensing, obtaining user data from the user, recording the user data, returning to waiting for a scheduled time for dispensing the medication or a user input upon recording the user data, recording a missed medication upon a failure of the user to respond to the alerting, returning to waiting for a scheduled time for dispensing the medication or a user input if a number of recorded missed medications is less than or equal to a preset value, issuing an emergency alert when the number of recorded missed medications exceeds the preset value, determining if the user input is a setup change, returning to providing initial data for a user of a medication dispensing apparatus upon the determination of the setup change, and performing a requested task from the user input. In various other embodiments the method includes transmitting to a remote computing device the dispensing upon recording the dispensing and transmitting to the remote computing device the user input upon recording the user input.
  • [0021]
    A system is also provided for personal health management utilizing a medication dispensing apparatus. In one embodiment thereof the system provides for one or more biometric measuring devices for a user, and a health management device configured to accept one or more readings from the measuring devices, recording user data, and storing the one or more readings and the user data in a database. The health management device comprises a medication dispenser, a means for connecting to a remote server, a means for transferring the database to the remote server and a means for alerting the remote server of a medical emergency wherein the remote server responds to the alerting or an emergency situation determined from data in the database by contacting an appropriate emergency responder. In other embodiments the health management device further comprises a means for storing the database to prevent loss of data due to power interruptions and the health management device is further configured to receive messages from the remote server and present the messages to the user. In another embodiment the messages are intended to solicit one or more responses from the user and the health management device is further configured to send the one or more responses to the remote server. In various other embodiments the health management device is further configured to generate a one or more refill requests based upon the amount of medication in the medication dispensing apparatus and is further configured to support multiple users. In another embodiment the medication dispenser comprises an automatic dispenser for the medication.
  • [0022]
    An apparatus for automatic medication dispensing is also provided. In one embodiment the apparatus comprises a cylindrical pill cabinet comprising a hollow central channel, a plurality of pill compartments arranged circumferentially about the hollow central channel and flanked by poles positioned parallel to the central channel. A first motor is provided for rotating the pill cabinet about an axis of the central channel. The apparatus includes a dispensing arm comprising a lead screw parallel to the axis and exterior to the pill cabinet, a push nut in operation with the lead screw for traversing a length of the lead screw when the lead screw is rotated, and a plurality of pins arranged in a column perpendicular to the axis and positioned for contacting the push nut. A second motor is included for rotating the lead screw to move the push nut to contact a one of the push pins wherein the one push pin is pushed interior to a one of the pill compartments and a pill contained therein is pushed into the hollow channel. The apparatus includes a processor configured to control the first motor and second motor for selecting a pill to be dispensed via the hollow central channel.
  • [0023]
    Other features, advantages, and object of the present invention will become more apparent and be more readily understood from the following detailed description, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0024]
    The present invention is best understood by reference to the detailed figures and description set forth herein.
  • [0025]
    Embodiments of the invention are discussed below with reference to the Figures. However, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the detailed description given herein with respect to these figures is for explanatory purposes as the invention extends beyond these limited embodiments. For example, it should be appreciated that those skilled in the art will, in light of the teachings of the present invention, recognized a multiplicity of alternate and suitable approaches, depending upon the needs of the particular application, to implement the functionality of any given detail described herein, beyond the particular implementation choices in the following embodiments described and shown. That is, there are numerous modifications and variations of the invention that are too numerous to be listed but that all fit within the scope of the invention. Also, singular words should be read as plural and vice versa and masculine as feminine and vice versa, where appropriate, and alternatives embodiments do not necessarily imply that the two are mutually exclusive.
  • [0026]
    The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to embodiments thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
  • [0027]
    Research shows that many seniors aging in place live disadvantaged because of the lack of timely and intelligent personal care that, so far, is believed to be only possible from a human caregiver for example, without limitation, a nurse or a family member. The present invention strives to be an electronics replacement that can intelligently manage the user's health. Exemplary functions of embodiments of the present invention are, without limitation, monitoring the user's health status, prompting and guiding the user to correctly administer medications, charting the user's medical history, responding with appropriate actions in pre-emergency and emergency, and keeping the user's health status available to remote users.
  • [0028]
    Embodiments of the present invention comprise a central control unit (CCU) with a centralized persistent database. This forms the brains to which is interfaced any or all of the following elements without limitation: peripherals such as, but not limited to, a display, a keypad, and speakers, a pill storage-and-dispensing unit, devices for reading health status through standard or specialized ports, and standard communications ports to connect by internet or phone to a server.
  • [0029]
    By striving to be an effective electronic replacement for traditional care giving, embodiments of the present invention focus on preventive care. This includes, without limitation, drug compliance, which has always been difficult for seniors to take care of alone as prescriptions, the constituent drugs and regimen are complicated to understand and remember. The preferred embodiment of the present invention guides and dispenses the correct combination of drugs, also known as a “cocktail”, according to the regimen. Embodiments of the present invention also take biometric readings indicative of the state of health and answers to medical queries, also referred to as an interview, and use this, data to determine an action pre-emergency or post-emergency to prevent or notify the worsening of the user's health. All medical events are recorded in memory persistent across power failures. This medical history is made available to remote caregivers or physicians, periodically or on-deniand, as desired by the user.
  • [0030]
    An aspect of the present invention is to provide means for intelligent personal health care and management. Embodiments of the present invention dispense pills and monitor the user's health status by indictors given by prescription compliance and biometric readings. The tracking and services performed by the preferred embodiment are carried out partly within the device client; however, these services are mostly carried out by a remote server.
  • [0031]
    In typical operation, embodiments of the present invention may be used for the following applications, without limitation. Some embodiments enable a user to take medications with guidance correctly according to prescriptions, thus eliminating human error to a large degree. Some embodiments also have electronic voice and/or visual guidance to warn the user of general side effects and cross-medication side effects. Some embodiments record the medical history of the user including, without limitation, prescription regimen compliance, prescribed and non-prescribed drug consumption statistics, and health indicators. Some embodiments function as a overseer to notify when emergency and pre-emergency care are needed for the user. Some embodiments function as a means for caregivers to access the user's health status via the server.
  • [0032]
    FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate an exemplary personal health management device with an automatic medicine dispenser, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1A is a front perspective view of the device, and FIG. 1B is a front perspective view of an exemplary pill dispenser housed within the device. In the present embodiment, the device comprises an external cabinet 101 to which the following elements, without limitation, are attached: a speaker 106 for voice instructions, a display 103, and a keypad 102. These elements are connected to a board with a central control unit (CCU) 121 that comprises a processor, memory RAM and ROM, access ports, and a sensor. The processor can connect to a PC or a server through the, access ports via means such as, but not limited to, phone lines, Ethernet, or wireless means.
  • [0033]
    In the present embodiment, display 103 enables the user to interact with the device through a menu and a graphic or character display prompter for data output, and keypad 102 enables the user to input data. Alternate embodiments may not include a display, and the user may be informed of information such as, but not limited to medication times by an audio alarm or other audio notification, for example without limitation, a recorded voice message. The reminder system in some embodiments may remind the user of medication times and other events through alternate means such as, but not limited to, a telephone call, a cellular phone call, or email. Alternate embodiments may not include a keypad, and users may be able to input data through alternate means such as, but not limited to, a full keyboard, a voice recognition system, barcode readers, or by downloading from a remote computing device or the Internet. In the present embodiment, the device also comprises a door 104 to load medicine into compartments 115 of the medicine dispenser housed inside cabinet 101 and shown by way of example in FIG. 1B. Some embodiments may also include security features such as, but not limited to, physical locks or password protection.
  • [0034]
    In the present embodiment, the automatic medicine dispenser inside cabinet 101 comprises a motor 113 coupled to a cylindrical pill cabinet 111 with a central hollow channel 112. Cylindrical pill cabinet 111 rotates by commands from the processor to every position in which a column flanked by poles 114 lines up against a dispensing arm 116. Once cylindrical pill cabinet 111 reaches the desired column, cylindrical pill cabinet 111 stops, and a motor 120 and a lead screw 118 of dispensing arm 116 push a nut 119 through pins 117 one by one. As nut 119 passes through pins 117, each pin pops out the pills in compartments 115 through central hollow channel 112. The pills are dispensed at the bottom where they are collected in a dispensing tray 105, which can be removed from the dispenser.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary personal health management device with a light-guided, self-service medicine dispenser, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Unlike the embodiment shown by way of example in FIG. 1A, the present embodiment has a prescription-guided dispenser instead of an automatic dispenser. This dispenser guides the user by lighting the compartments of the pills to be consumed as opposed to the automatic dispenser that dispenses the group of medications directly. In the present embodiment, a device cabinet 201 has a primary door 202 that is opened to enable pills to be loaded into shelves 203. Each shelf 203 has a guide light 204. The device also comprises a display 205, a keypad 206, a speaker 207, and extra storage 208. Inside cabinet 201 is a CCU that functions similarly to CCU 121 shown by way of example in FIG. 1B with a processor, access ports, memory RAM and ROM, and sensors. The present embodiment may be considered a generic version of a personal health management device, and those skilled in the art, in light of the present teachings, will recognize that many features may be added to or removed from this embodiment while maintaining the function of the device
  • [0036]
    For example, without limitation, alternate embodiments may include, without limitation, any version of a pillbox or reminder device with automatic prescription-guided dispensing and/or visual and/or voice-guidance for prescription medications, with or without applications to track consumption of medication, prescribed or not, and to gather health indicators by interviewing the user or using biometric readings. Biometric readings that may be gathered through means such as, but not limited to, user input, sensors, monitors, or meters include, without limitation, weight, blood glucose levels, and blood pressure. Some embodiments may have a database, where this data is gathered, designed in such a way that it resists failures as if the copy is always up to date even after a power failure. The information in this database may be transferred to a remote computing device in some embodiments via a connection such as, but not limited to, a telecom system, the Internet, or a wired or wireless network. This transfer of information can move both ways, sending user information to the remote computing device and receiving information from the remote computing device such as, but not limited to, additional data, scripts, responses to questions, or instructions to the user. In some embodiments the remote computing device is able to use information such as, but not limited to, the data received, information contained in databases, and external information from the web to make deductions about the user's health.
  • [0037]
    Some embodiments may connect to a server to transmit drug compliance data and health indicators to the server. Some embodiments may also have sensors on the doors or latches or compartments to monitor the removal or addition of pills. Some embodiments may also support multiple users. Some embodiments may also have video-conferencing and messaging built in to talk with a caregiver or physician.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 3 shows an exemplary network for a personal health management device 301, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In the present embodiment, at the time of dispensing pills 302, the user may also input biometric readings from a meter 303 into device 301 manually, for example, without limitation, through a keypad or keyboard, or automatically, for example, without limitation, through a wired or wireless connection. The user may also participate in a diagnosis interview set by the device where simple queries are put through to assess the health-status of the user. An exemplary question is, without limitation, “Do you feel all right?” This data is recorded and saved in memory, both temporary and retentive memory in the present embodiment. This record is transmitted periodically, and sometimes as soon as possible, to a server 306. Data is sent by wireless or wired means, for example, without limitation, phone lines, Ethernet or a wireless network, to a point 304, and then the data goes over an internet or telecom system backbone 305 to server 306. Server 306 uses this data as well as contextual data, for example, without limitation, atmospheric temperature, to create derived data that is published periodically for the user's physician and/or caregiver by means such as, but not limited to ordinary mail, web or email, or a telephone. If device 301 or server 306 deduces that user needs emergency care, corresponding action is taken. The emergency can be several levels, for example, without limitation, contacting the caregivers, neighbors, or a call to a Personal Emergency Response 307 such as, but not limited to 911.
  • [0039]
    One of the features of the present embodiment is a centralized database. There are two parts to the database, the accumulating database in device 301 and the periodically updated copy in server 306. The database in server 306, however, also contains more derived data. Remote caregivers can access this database through means such as, but not limited to the Internet, email, or phone to monitor the user's health status. In the present embodiment, the database in device 301 enables the data to be saved consistently in non-volatile memory to prevent loss of data during power failures. This involves a careful write where the old value of parameters is written first followed by the change requested to their values. An example of a parameter value being, without limitation, the amount of medication taken After a power-up from a power failure, device 301 can reconstruct the actual value by looking up the careful write parameters and asking the user to fill any other parameter not available or performing a certain action.
  • [0040]
    The preferred embodiment enables the device to track cross-effects between prescribed and non-prescribed drugs. The FDA has a database that can be indexed with the National Drug Code (NDC) of the medication to obtain instructions and side effects. The server gets the NDC for every medication and crosschecks the medication with every other medication in the database contained in the device. This information is sent back to the device to wam the user and to caregivers if dangerous cross-effects may occur.
  • [0041]
    The preferred embodiment also has an application to track effectiveness of pills by tracking the specific health status improvement of the user, positive or negative, with the regimen. An example is, without limitation, a diet regimen to lose weight in three months. The preferred embodiment tracks the progress and makes predictions on whether the user is on track or not. In some embodiments, the device may also graphically chart the progress.
  • [0042]
    In some embodiments, the device can also request auto-refill when a medication is running low at the correct time so the medication is available not too late and not too soon. Some embodiments are able to support multiple users. In these embodiments, two or more users can use the same device even when they have common medications. A software logical layer partitions the physical resources into multiple domains, one for each user.
  • [0043]
    A basic implementation of the present invention includes a pillbox with one or more compartments where medications are stored in different compartments that takes a prescription by typing it on the keypad and guides the user to take the constituent medications according to the prescription schedule by using a queue, e.g., without limitation, LED, text, sound, voice guidance, etc. For example, without limitation, if the prescription says 2 mg of medication A which is in compartment #1, 4 mg of medication B in compartment #2, and 6 mg of Medication C in compartment #3. If each pill of medication A, B, and C is 2 mg: then the following is outputted at the time of dispensing assuming a voice guidance: 1 pills from Compartment #1, 2 pills from Compartment #2, 3 pills from Compartment #3. An exemplary physical system supporting this basic embodiment includes a box with one or more compartments: medications are stored in separate compartments, an LED for each compartment, a keypad to input prescription and/or drug information, an LCD character or screen or LEDs or character LED to display information, a computing device that computes a medicine dispensing result based on the prescription input, the medications, and the number of pills to be taken by the user at every interval. The present embodiment would guide the user with the LED's and any other information it may display on the screen. Volatile (RAM) and/or non-volatile (ROM) memory could be used in the device to store and process data.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary function of a typical personal health management device, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In the present embodiment, the process begins at a start point, step 401. The user then sets up the CCU with information such as, but not limited to, personal and emergency information and contacts as well as connecting biometric meters such as, but not limited to, glucose or blood pressure to the device in step 402. In step 403, the user loads the medication according to the manner prescribed by the particular embodiment being used. The user also enters the medication's NDC number or name through the keypad in step 403. In alternate embodiments, the NDC number can be input using a barcode reader using a barcode on the medication container. In the present embodiment, the user also enters the prescription either manually or by typing in the prescription access number in step 403.
  • [0045]
    In step 404, the process is interrupted by an alarm or by the user. This interruption may be caused by medication time or user input. In step 405 the device determines if it is currently a medication time. If it is a medication time, the device then determines if the user is absent in step 406. If the user is absent, a missed medication is logged in step 407. Missed medications can be a sign of trouble and, after a certain number, may require an emergency response. In the present embodiment, after the missed medication is logged, the device determines if the user has missed more than a preset number of medication times, and emergency response is activated in step 409. If the user has not missed more than the preset number of medication times, the process waits for another interruption to occur at step 404.
  • [0046]
    If the user is present in step 406, the device determines whether to dispense the medication in step 411. If the device decides to dispense the medication, the medication is dispensed and a message is transmitted to the server in step 412. The device guides the user when taking a medication cocktail or a single medication by identifying the constituent drugs and their individual dosages. Guidance may be audio or visual. Biometric readings are taken and transmitted to the server in step 413. If the device decides to not dispense medication in step 411, the process continues to step 413.
  • [0047]
    If it is not a medication time that caused the interruption as determined in step 405, the device determines if the user requested an interrupt in step 410. If the user has requested an interrupt, in step 414, the user can choose to change the setup of the device or perform an alternate task such as, but not limited to, instantly dispense medication, or take readings. If the user wants to change the setup of the device, the process returns to step 402 where the user may edit the setup information. If the user wants to perform an alternate task, the device performs that task in step 415.
  • [0048]
    Those skilled in the art will readily recognize, in accordance with the teachings of the present invention, that any of the foregoing steps and/or system modules may be suitably replaced, reordered, removed and additional steps and/or system modules may be inserted depending upon the needs of the particular application, and that the systems of the foregoing embodiments may be implemented using any of a wide variety of suitable processes and system modules, and is not limited to any particular computer hardware, software, middleware, firmware, microcode and the like.
  • [0049]
    Some embodiments of the invention provide the option of instant and/or vacation dispensing to the user. Instant dispensing is shown by way of example in FIG. 4 in step 415 where a user may input a task for the device to perform. The user can instantly dispense medication in advance for a short trip or a longer trip. For longer trips, when the device is not being transported with the user, some embodiments enable a related application called vacation dispensing where medications are dispensed for each session with instructions. The medicines can be put into a mobile pillbox. Also, the instructions can be provided to the user or caregiver for example, without limitation, by being written down or downloaded to a cell phone or a PDA. In some embodiments the device may be able to notify the user of medication times while on vacation through means such as, but not limited to, email or a phone call.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 5 illustrates a typical computer system that, when appropriately configured or designed, can serve as a computer system in which the invention may be embodied. The computer system 500 includes any number of processors 502 (also referred to as central processing units, or CPUs) that are coupled to storage devices including primary storage 506 (typically a random access memory, or RAM), primary storage 504 (typically a read only memory, or ROM). CPU 502 may be of various types including microcontrollers and microprocessors such as programmable devices (e.g., CPLDs and FPGAs) and non-programmable devices such as gate array ASICs or general purpose microprocessors. As is well known in the art, primary storage 504 acts to transfer data and instructions uni-directionally to the CPU and primary storage 506 is used typically to transfer data and instructions in a bi-directional manner. Both of these primary storage devices may include any suitable computer-readable media such as those described above. A mass storage device 508 may also be coupled bi-directionally to CPU 502 and provides additional data storage capacity and may include any of the computer-readable media described above. Mass storage device 508 may be used to store programs, data and the like and is typically a secondary storage medium such as a hard disk. It will be appreciated that the information retained within the mass storage device 508, may, in appropriate cases, be incorporated in standard fashion as part of primary storage 506 as virtual memory. A specific mass storage device such as a CD-ROM 514 may also pass data uni-directionally to the CPU.
  • [0051]
    CPU 502 may also be coupled to an interface 510 that connects to one or more input/output devices such as such as video monitors, track balls, mice, keyboards, microphones, touch-sensitive displays, transducer card readers, magnetic or paper tape readers, tablets, styluses, voice or handwriting recognizers, or other well-known input devices such as, of course, other computers. Finally, CPU 502 optionally may be coupled to an external device such as a database or a computer or telecommunications or internet network using an external connection as shown generally at 512, which may be implemented as a hardwired or wireless communications link using suitable conventional technologies. With such a connection, it is contemplated that the CPU might receive information from the network, or might output information to the network in the course of performing the method steps described in the teachings of the present invention.
  • [0052]
    Having fully described at least one embodiment of the present invention, other equivalent or alternative means for implementing a personal health management system according to the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The invention has been described above by way of illustration, and the specific embodiments disclosed are not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed. The invention is thus to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the following claims.
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Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.221/6, 700/242
Clasificación internacionalB65D83/00
Clasificación cooperativaG07F17/0092, A61J2200/30, G06F19/3462, G07F11/62, A61J7/0084, A61J7/04
Clasificación europeaG07F17/00P, G06F19/34L1, G07F11/62