A comparison of IoT-connected, automated pill dispensers

The year of the IoT, automated pill dispenser began with several newcomers finally out of their prototyping phase, into manufacturing and getting ready for commercialization. The new generation of pill dispensers are not only automated, but connected as well. We spent some time researching for the best pill dispenser for seniors and those for general consumer use. They all connect to patients and caregivers, some with advanced support for pharmacists and health care professionals via online portals. Besides all the cool bells and whistles, what distinguishes them most is their form factor, ease-of-use and target market. The days of manually dispensing your buffet of medications into small plastic organizers is almost over.

Whatever form your medications arrive in, there is now a perfect(almost), connected, automated dispenser for you. Most are promising deliveries beginning in 2018 so the timing is great if you are considering the need for a pill dispenser for yourself or loved one.

Blister Packaged, tight security, validation by pharmacist, self -programmed

RxPense is the only personal use, commercial/enterprise dispenser for blister packaged medications specifically designed for seniors and chronic disease patients consuming up to 15 medications per dose. The device loads prepackaged medications (2 weeks) that have been certified by your pharmacist, and robotically opens each dose package and delivers them to the patient, when authenticated, at the right time. The RxPense connects to the pharmacy to obtain the precise dispensing details needed to properly self-program.

RxPense Automatic Pill Dispenser

The RxPense is physically locked, preventing theft, abuse and overdose. The patented, random access, robotic mechanism allows the RxPense to skip doses, preventing over dosing and keeping the original medications locked, until refill time. The RxPense is also the only multilingual dispenser (EN/FR/ES +) which allows each user — patient, caregiver or healthcare professional to choose their own language for use.

Designed primarily for industrial use in seniors residences, managed care and assisted living faculties, it can also be used at home. IT experts will love the extensive deployment, monitoring and management of devices, people and patients available in the Cloud. Security is provided by PIN, Password, RFID, Bracelet and Voice biometrics. RxPense is the only device to provide image and data authenticated dispensing and audit trails. Patients, caregivers and other authorized users each have their own account and security permissions to ensure HIPAA compliance.

Blister packaged medications are available at all pharmacies internationally as there is no upfront equipment costs for the pharmacy to absorb. Blister packaging like DisPill, Distrimedic or others can typically hold 5–15 medication per dose.

RxPense is manufactured in Canada by Medipense Inc. RxPense is available world-wide with data stored in local country of origin.

Strip/Pouch packaging, machine filled, specialty pharmacy.

Spencer is an automated strip packaging based medication dispenser. If your pharmacy can supply you with strip packaged medications, this may be the best dispenser for you. A spencer-certified pharmacist prepares medication filled packs that are pre-sorted and arranged by the determined times based on what your doctors have prescribed. The refill is then delivered to your home to be inserted into spencer in one easy step. Spencer dispenses the right medications at the right time with reminders and alerts.

Designed primarily for in-home use, the medications are only provided by a spencer-certified pharmacist. Strip packaging can typically hold 1–5 medication per dose. If more that 5 are required, multiple packages much be dispensed.

Spencer

The Spencer is connected to the cloud and supports circle of care data sharing.

Spencer is manufactured in the USA by HAP innovations.

Karie is a personal, home use, automated strip packaging based medication dispenser. If your pharmacy can supply you with strip packaged medications, this pill dispenser will work for you. The specialty pharmacy will fill the strip packaging and supply them in a roll that is placed in a special cartridge. You take the cartridge home. After placing the loaded cartridge inside Karie, it reads the information on the packaging and automatically creates a medication schedule. The cartridge and medication are not secure, so be sure to store away from children.

Karie

When leaving the house, you can enter the number of doses that you will be away for. With the push of a button, Karie instantly delivers your medication pouch and adjusts your schedule accordingly. While security is somewhat lacking, convenience and simplicity are outstanding features. If you need a simple, lower cost medication reminder with controlled dispensing, Karie is worth exploring.

Karie, made in Canada, has limited cloud connectivity and reporting, but makes a great, simple, personal pill dispenser.

Vials, manually filled and programmed.

Philips Lifeline offers a simple, affordable and automated way to manage multiple medications with 24/7 monitoring. Philips is not advertising a pill dispenser, rather they are now promoting a service. The Philips Medication Dispensing Service helps you to avoid medication mistakes, so you can live independently in the comfort of your own home. Our automated medication dispenser with 24-hour monitoring provides daily reminders and instructions. It’s designed to help you to take the right dose at the prescribed time.

Philips dispenser

The device holds up to 60 plastic cups (sold separately) with patient meds. Patient must organize all the pills for a particular dose, and feed each cup into the dispenser manually. 2-line small print LED screen displays filling instructions, 3 cups at a time.

Machine delivers missed doses to a side receptacle. Side receptacle can collect multiple doses. Danger that patient may take multiple doses. Additional danger that several doses may be easily accessible to family members.

The plus of this product is the service provided is similar to an alarm service. When you need help, someone will be there.

The Philips dispenser is available in the USA with a monthly subscription.

Livi is a personal, home use, pill dispenser which can dispense up to 15 pills of different sizes and shapes, multiple times a day or as needed. When it’s time to take meds, the green button lights up. One press of the button is all it takes to release the pills — the unit stays locked to prevent over-medicating. Just pour your pills (up to 90 days) directly from the vial into Livi, program the schedule from the web portal, and Livi dispenses pills at the right time.

Livi

Assembly is somewhat cumbersome as each dispensing vial must be matched to the pill size and shape it is dispensing. Scheduling information manually entered into the portal is also copied from the pill vial.

The Livi device is key locked, preventing unauthorized access. While no pin or security s required from dispensing, it is cloud connected at all times via a Verizon-based cellular connection.

Livi is made available in the USA by PharmRight Corporation.

HERO is a personal, home use, smart appliance that stores, dispenses, and manages pills. Loading HERO couldn’t be easier. Just pour your pills into a cartridge and slide it in. Sorting is now a thing of the past. Pour each pill into its own vial. HERO can hold over a month’s supply of ten different pills. HERO is locked, and password protected. HERO warns you if you are running low and can order refills.

HERO Vitamins and Pill dispenser

HERO promotes vitamins and pills of all sizes and shapes, without requiring specialized fittings. The product is only available in the USA. For communication, they offer HERO Connect, our premium notification service.

HERO is designed and made in the USA by HERO Health LLC.

Pillo is a personal, home use device billed as “The smartest and friendliest way to manage yours and your family’s health”. It’s also one of the most attractive products I’ve seen. Pillo (male) can answer health and wellness questions, connect directly with healthcare professionals, and securely manage vitamins and medication; storing, dispensing, and even ordering refills when required. He sends notifications to your loved ones when medications are missed.

Pillo

Pillo’s key features include voice and facial recognition technology, secure storage and dispensing of your vitamins and medication, reminders, alerts & mobile notifications via the Pillo mobile app and wirelessly syncs with wearables and smart home devices.

Pills are pours into separate divided containers inserted to the device. Programming and scheduling is performed via the web.

Pillo will be available in the USA and is made by Pillo, Inc.

It’s great to see so many new entrants into the medication adherence space. With the varieties now, or soon to be available, medication adherence will certainly increase. More people will stay out of hospital, longer.