Medicube is an IoT enabled medication dispenser with an integrated voice assistant that tracks adherence and provides personalized reminders to elderly patients, motivating them to follow their regime.

Step 1: Pledge

In the first step, both the patient and the caregiver take a pledge where the patient promises to take their medicines on time and the caregiver would provide all necessary support

Step 2: The medicine reminder

  • Medicube then provides timely voice reminders to the patient.

Scenario 2: Alexa senses a medical emergency and alerts the caregivers.

Here we will explore the unhappy path and discuss how the conversation flows when the patient needs any kind of help and how the system intervenes.

Case 1 : For times when the patient is not around the dispenser and needs help

Case 2 : For cases where medication is extremely important, we can use ‘fear’ as a motivator. This should however be the least preferred option.

One of the most important aspects of good VUI design is to take advantage of known conversational principles. I will paste some excerpts from Cathy Pearl’s book “Designing Voice User Experiences”

Principles of Conversational Experience

The cooperative principle refers to the fact that listeners and speakers, in order to have a successful conversation, must act cooperatively. Paul Grice introduced this idea and divided it into four maxims:

Quality :Say what you believe to be true.

Quantity :Say as much information as is needed, but not more.

Relevance :Talk about what is relevant to the conversation at hand.

Manner : Try to be clear and…

The main reasons why people do not take medication are :

  1. They forget to take their medication.

Let’s discuss each of these reasons in detail and brainstorm possible ‘trigger’ solutions.

1. Forgetting

This is the most common cause of patients missing their medication. The patient may struggle with remembering to take medications daily, perhaps causing the patient to take an inappropriately delayed dose, to take an unscheduled medication holiday, or to inadvertently take an extra dose. Let’s break it further into different kinds and brainstorm possible solutions.

(a) Forgetting to take medication altogether.

My Product Name : Pill Pack Plus

Specific market category : Smart Medication Dispenser with integrated Voice Assistant

For : Elderly patients with chronic conditions , their Caregivers

Who : (Patients who) need a little extra help in complying with their medication regime, (Caregivers who) want to personally care for their patients in managing their medication but are not always around to do that.

Key Benefit : (1) Provides pre sorted medication (2) triggers that motivates the patient to take action (3) and keeps track of their compliance.

Competition : PillPack current version, Pillo, Lifepod

Unique differentiator : Pill sorting…

In the past we have iterated through more than 1 ideas that we thought could add value in our problem space. Although, I am pretty convinced that building upon an existing model like that of Pill Pack and integrating an IOT dispenser with Voice would be a good solution to help patients with their medication adherence. However, here is the Idea + Criteria matrix chart that shows the rational behind the choice.

This matrix reinforces that building up on existing solutions (Pill Pack eco-system) might be a better idea than just building an isolated system.

It is important to detail out the persona of the Smart pill dispenser before we dive into designing conversations. Depending on what and how the voice interacts with the patient, it would get a personality of its own. So it advisable for the designer to deliberately design one.

Cathy Pearl in her book ‘Designing Voice User Interfaces’ gives the following definition.

“Persona” is defined as the role that we assume to display our conscious intentions to ourselves or other people. In the world of voice user interfaces, the term “persona” is used as a rough equivalent of “character,” as in…

In my previous post, I had outlined the concept and illustrated the use case scenarios. But it was based on 3 strong assumptions.

Assumption 1

I assume that when patients have their medication sorted in pouches for each dose of the day, it makes it easy for them to adhere to their pill routines.

This is also validated by the success of Pill Pack and later adopted by other pharmaceutical companies like CVS.

Assumption 2

When compared to regular app based alarms, a voice reminder (which interacts with the patient and gives appropriate triggers) is a more effective way of…

In order to evaluate my thesis work as I progress, here is a list of criteria. This would also help me in decision making as I iterate upon it.

User Needs

The ‘Job To Be Done’ here is “ To make sure that the patient takes their medication regularly”. Keeping this in mind, the user needs would be :

  • The activity of taking medication should be made simpler and convenient. (Sorting, taking the right medication at the right time, knowing the instructions of taking medication etc)

In this blog I will detail out the most crucial aspect of my solution’s interaction flow. To recap the complete experience of the solution, here is the User Experience journey map. My focus area for deep dive is marked with green dotted block.

To detail out the ‘Engage’ phase of the experience, I mapped the most probable user journeys and the interactions associated with them. Here is a glimpse of the Swim-lane mapping of the User Journey.

Swim-lane mapping of User Journey (Engage Phase)

Abhinav Sircar

Interaction Design student@ SVA, New York

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