Automated Drug Dispenser May Shake Up Pharmacy


Everyone forgets to take their medication from time to time.

Everyone forgets to take their medication from time to time.

In fact, 40% of those taking prescription drugs have difficulty sticking to their regimens, a study in The New England Journal of Medicine has estimated.

That’s why biomedical startup Life Integrating Technologies and Experiences (LITE) created Lumma, a new medical device for home use that automates the sorting and dispensing of medications.

The hope is that the device will appeal to anyone who takes medications or supplements, including the growing senior citizen population and loved ones who handle their care.

Lumma is the first medication dispenser to be hosted on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. As of September 1, 2015, LITE has received more $24,000 from 99 backers, with a goal to raise $100,000.

According to Lumma's developers, the device is designed to sort and dispense multiple types of pills. Before pouring their pills into the machine, users enter basic information on a touchscreen, including the drug name, dosage, frequency of dosage, and time.

When it is time for the user to take his or her medication, the Lumma device lights up and sounds an alarm. Tech-savvy users will have the ability to receive notifications on their smartphones or mobile device through an app, which also captures information on dosage history and medication adherence rates. For those without smartphones, notifications can be received via e-mail or text message.

Users will be required to enter a password into Lumma before receiving the appropriate dosage of medication.

The system will allow caregivers to monitor the medication adherence of their loved ones, providing increased peace of mind, the developers say. There are also plans in the works for a health provider portal that allows physicians and nurses to track their patients’ medication adherence.

Thus far, there has been no mention of extending this monitoring capability to pharmacists.

Although the device is still in testing and development, it will be available in 2 models. The larger model can hold up to a 3-month supply of 12 different types of pills, which is quite an upgrade from a typical pill box. Each model can have up to 2 users, to boot.

Other features include an “on-demand” manual access function for medications that are taken as-needed and a battery backup system that ensures access to medication even if electricity goes out.

It is not yet clear when the Lumma device will become available, and while the developers have stated that the device will be “affordable,” it is also not yet clear how much it will cost once it reaches the market.

If you support the Kickstarter campaign, you can purchase the smallest Lumma system at $169, which holds 6 different medications.

This product is definitely one to watch, as it could potentially change the future of home health care, medication management, and even pharmacy.

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