The global population of people older than 60 years will more than double, from 542 million in 1995 to ~1.2 billion in 2025, and these people need dedicated Elderly Care, because many of them suffer from physical and mental decline. Now the ideas of “ubiquitous computing” and “Internet-of-things” as supportive means for Elderly Care are not feasible for the masses, because of their prohibitively expensive realizations in the limited number of various home electronics only and impossibility to apply for non-electronic home appliances like pharmaceutical substances.
The proposed idea consists of using: (a) cheap re-programmable NFC (near field communication) smart tags on the passive pillboxes or active “smart” patches, (b) usual NFC-enabled smartphone, (c) mobile application to read/write the NFC -tags.
The current policy to provide pharmaceutical goods is focused on some diseases or health malfunctions (“disease-targeted” approach – DTA). This solution is about the paradigm shift: pharmaceutical goods should be mostly targeted to the concrete patient (“patient-targeted” approach – PTA) in addition to the DTA.
The main “interaction idea” is to create interactive links between the main actors in the pharmaceutical industry (pharmaceutical company, medical doctor, and patient) with effective feedback among them based on the personal electronic devices like NFC-smartphone + NFC-tags with links on multimedia (easier than text for elders) prescriptions, health data, and instant medical consultation and help.
The main “cost-saving idea” is: to go from “limited number of expensive computing units only in electronic home appliances” to “many cheap smart NFC-tags on any home appliance (pillboxes/patches) + one computing unit (smartphone, tablet, …)”.
Technology behind Proposed Solution:
1) hardware — NFC-enabled smartphone +
a) passive NFC-tag on a pillbox with the link to communicative tool (mobile application or multimedia info on a web-site with medical prescription);
b) active NFC-compound on a patch (NFC-tag + polyacrylic acid polymer (PAAP)) for the controlled drug release;
2) software — a mobile applications + secure web-portal or/and the related medical social network.
Use Cases and Feasibility Tests as Possible Ways to Market:
The feasibility of the proposed solution was tested in two Use Cases (student projects):
a) passive — for supportive ambience for elders/disablers with: context-sensitive advices as to usage of pills, reminders of medical prescriptions, alerts of unusual unhealthy behavior and personal advices as to intake of pills — by NFC-tags on pills with links for prescriptions – tested in Google Science Fair 2013 project (selected among the Regional Finalists) coached by me;
b) active — for controlled drug release and delivery — by compound pharmaceutical patch: NFC-tag + PAAP soaked by liquid medication, which can be released on demand by electric voltage from NFC-tag after secure NFC-signal from smartphone (the underlying physical principle is that PAAP can desorb liquid under influence of electric current) — tested by me in the tendon patch with heating ointment during Kyiv City Marathon-2014.
The final aim is to get synergy from available technologies to provide “patient-targeted” approach, which could be accessible for all and now.