In collaboration with Prevas, startup company Pilloxa AB has developed a solution to assist people with life-long medication needs. By combining software and hardware with Internet of Things, they have developed a product that is both smart and compatible with future solutions.
Pilloxa's founders met in conjunction with an innovation program in medical technology, involving the Royal Institute of Technology, Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm County Council. It began with an interdisciplinary project with doctors, engineers, economists and designers. The group was given access to a clinic for a period of eight months to verify the need for the solution they have now developed.
With many people with chronic illnesses, there is a clear need for medication assistance. What immediately comes to mind are older people living at home who sometimes forget to take their medication, but there are significantly more people under 65 on medication.
Smart ideas that produce results
From the technical perspective, Pilloxa's solution is a product for the future with support from new enabling technologies. It is about providing care in the home by deploying Internet of Things solutions, often with the help of a smartphone. Prevas works often with these kinds of innovations – those exciting ideas from startup companies. To provide proper care, solutions like these are essential, and both e-health and life science are important focus areas for Prevas.
“Pilloxa's product focuses more on health than illness,” says Francesco Mazzotta, Pilloxa cofounder and CEO. “We want to help all those with chronic illnesses on their own terms. The solution consists of both a smartphone application and physical hardware. These days, everyone uses smartphones, and most of what we do is connected to them in some way or the other. So, it's natural that there should also be support in our phones for taking medicine.”
“Working with this kind of company is so much fun because the relationship becomes so engaging,” explains Maria Månsson, head of innovation and research at Prevas. “It's exciting with new, bold and often disruptive ideas, and besides this, we get the opportunity to help make the world a little bit better.”
At the same time, it is necessary to maintain the right perspective to achieve the best possible results with often limited resources. The focus is on developing cost-effective solutions that enable companies to move forward.
“The challenge with these kinds of passionate companies is giving them the prerequisites for getting their products out on the market,” says Maria.
Partner with advanced expertise in EMC
Pilloxa chose Prevas both because Prevas has the right expertise in medical technology and because of their advanced expertise in electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), which is essential for certification of medical hardware. Prevas EMC lab also enables testing and evaluation prior to formal certification.
“Moreover, Prevas demonstrates excellent flexibility and understanding of our needs with consideration both to budgetary restraints and the importance of moving forward,” says Francesco. “Due to the nature of the development process, we've needed to sometimes adjust our resources, both upward and downward. “This goes quite smoothly with Prevas, which has been a very important factor.”
Prevas’ specialists have been along throughout the project, and when Pilloxa has needed feedback, it’s usually been given promptly. Among other things, Prevas has developed a circuit board based on Pilloxa’s specifications, and the pill box successfully managed the EMC measurements on the first try. With the space available for the electronics being so small, just getting it to fit has been quite a challenge.
“With the limited space and narrow circuit board, along with the subsequent design restrictions, the form factor was difficult,” Maria explains. “At the same time, we had to comply with the customer’s requirements related to function, cost-efficiency and regulations, such as for EMC.”
The hardware is small and very discrete but is exceedingly smart. Sensors detect when medicine has been taken – only reminding the user if a dose has been missed – and automatically keeps track of statistics.
“The goal is to provide clear and simple assistance to patients,” says Francesco. “At the same time, the solution integrates with patients, utilizing their input to become even smarter and personalized to their needs.”
Smart products can save lives
The statistics show how often medication has been taken at the designated time, as well as any deviations. The thought behind the solution is that the information generated from the pill box can be used to predict user behavior, and even be integrated with e-health databases and pharmacies, for example.
“The results are a combination of hardware and software, with the software being there to engage the patient and the hardware for the actual medicine,” says Francesco. “We've struck a good balance between form and function.”
A concrete example of the significance of Pilloxa's solution can be seen when a patient who has undergone a kidney transplant must take immunosuppression medication for the rest of his or her life. The risk of rejection never passes but nothing noticeable occurs immediately if you miss your medication. One of five organ rejections is due to irregularities in patient medication. The problem of patients not taking their medication is a very real problem.
“This is the future, and we're seeing more and more solutions of this type,” says Maria. “They’re often hardware based, using connectivity and IoT applications to help people in various situations. This is truly a future proof product.”
Do you want to know more about this project or find out what Prevas can do for you, please contact us.
Stefan Norrwing, e-mail