Designing Interactive Pill Reminders for Older Adults: A Formative Study

  • Sepideh Ansari
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6766)


Introduction: The real challenge for information technologies is not content or curriculum development, but the development of interactive mechanisms by which to make information individually relevant, timely, and, tailored to promote information sharing. At first, this article reviews common technological approaches accessible to elderly that are intended to increase adherence to medication. Then, in a formative process the study proposes a novel framework to design and evaluate an interactive automated pill reminder for older adults. The proposed interactive pill reminder offers a solution by dispensing medication to the elderly in a way that is secure, routine, and monitored by their physician or pharmacist. Considering the interaction tasks between the device and a physician or pharmacist, coupled with their work schedules, the device is designed so that it is simple enough for the industry to absorb it.

Background: Non-adherence among patients has been identified as a major public health problem that imposes a considerable financial burden upon modern health care systems. This burden includes 10% of hospital admissions, 23% of admissions to nursing homes and has been estimated to cost $100 billion each year in the US. Information technology has been used both to measure and enhance adherence. Measurement has been through advanced technologies, such as smart pill-bottle caps, to capture medication-taking behavior and using information technology to collect and synchronize both frequency and time of opening of the medication bottle, with a central database.

Methodology: The development of the pill reminder includes three main stages: (1) Designing the high fidelity prototype based on heuristics and available guidelines and collecting necessary information applicable in the design of the interactive pill reminder (i.e., user requirement analysis, general requirements of small screen devices, and design principles for older adults); (2) Pilot testing the mid-fidelity interactive pill reminder prototype and analyzing the results (i.e., examining the mid-fidelity product by user interviews, a focus group, and a usability questionnaire); and (3) Proposing a list of tasks to improve the future high-fidelity prototype (i.e., proposing future high-fidelity design heuristics).

Conclusion: Non-adherence to medication is a major health burden specifically in the elderly population. Designing new automatic pill reminders for elderly can open new ways to improve adherence rates among them; however, more formative research needs to be conducted to establish preliminary design guidelines in designing such reminders. This study collected necessary information applicable in the design of the interactive pill reminder. The result was the development of a high fidelity prototype for an automatic pill reminder.


Medication Adherence Older Adult Medication Event Monitoring System Medication Bottle User Interview 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sepideh Ansari
    • 1
  1. 1.535 W MichiganIndianapolisUSA

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