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Smart containers

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000198699D
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-12
Document File: 3 page(s) / 34K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is an invention for a medication container that stores medical data about the patient and the dispensed medication so that, when in proximity to other medication containers, it is able to analyze the data and determine whether there are any risks or contraindications associated with taking the medications together. Smart containers are configured at the dispensing pharmacy through a scanning device that accesses medication databases.

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Smart containers

Currently, there is much confusion for a lay person to determine whether they can safely ingest particular combinations of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and/or herbal supplements. For many patients, keeping track of their medication is often very confusing and prone to error. The patient must rely on their doctor, pharmacist, and other health care providers to inform them of certain risks or the contraindications of mixing different medications. There are drug interaction checkers on-line, but not all patients, particularly the elderly, have access to a computer and to this information.

The invention described here is intelligent containers for medications. These containers recognize when other similar containers are in proximity, determine the viability of taking the contents together, and provide an indication of safe or dangerous. The container display turns a certain color, and a graphic illustration or specific information is displayed on the container to indicate the potential problem or results that could occur. In addition, alternative medications are suggested. Use of this type of "aware" containers provides the end users with very important data literally at their fingertips.

For the smart containers to be used, they must first be configured in the dispensing pharmacy. The process flow for this configuration is shown in the figure below.

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The pharmacy configures each container for both the individual patient and the medication it will contain.

The data stored on the container includes the patient's details, such as allergies, medication history, disabilities etc. This data is either entered manually at a computer terminal, or obtained from a database, if the data is available from previous pharmacy visits or from a central medical history repository.

The details of the medication are obtained when a user scans the medication's bar code, which accesses the full medication details (ingredients, dosage etc) from a pre-configured database. These details also include any safety guidelines with taking these medications in combinations with others.

The computer terminal displays warn...