We began our research my targeting multiple focus groups: each associated differently with terminal medical conditions. From this we were able to identify the most prominent problems.
This project posed an array of design problems and these were mainly solved through group sketching sessions.
This is the design solution we came to.
With a simple mechanism - which was developed alongside our elderly focus group - the correct medication is dispensed. A prototype of this mechanism was tested by members of the group suffering from arthiritis and they were able to operate it easily.
The solution uses cartridges containing only one type of medication. This allows a single disc to be replaced if the prescription is altered, without interfering with the remaining cartridges. This was a critical focus of the design as it meant that the remaining medication did not have to be thrown away. When empty, these can then be refilled by the pharmacist for the following week.
Mock-up software was developed to aid the pharmacist in correctly filling each cartridge. This allowed the prescription to be updated remotely by the doctor; which results in less medication being wasted.
The solution allows the pharmacist to pre-program the dosage times; when the device is filled. The device then vibrates at the correct time to alert the patient. Deploying the mechanism then releases only the correct dosage and moves the program on to the next designated time. This feature proved extremely popular with the elderly patients we spoke to as they mentioned that they would previously take all their pills for the day in the morning - as opposed to the correct times througout the day - to ensure that they didn't forget.