LSUS LSUHSC Medical Compliance System - Patented
History of Invention
In 2007 I was approached by Paul Sisson, the Dean of Science, about conferring with LSU’s Health Science Center (LSUHSC), also located in Shreveport; regarding some medical equipment that Dr. Jonathan Glass had expressed a desire to develop. Dr. Glass was, at that time, the Director of the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, a part of LSUHSC.
Dr. Glass and I began to confer on two separate inventions. Our efforts resulted in the development of a medical compliance device to assure the proper regiment of medications reaches the patient when that patient is unable to take their own drugs without outside intervention of some sort.
That same year Dr. Glass and I filed a provisional patent on our device. In the summer of 2008 through a series of meetings with local software developers, we decided to construct a prototype of our system. From July of that year through October, I worked to develop a functional model of our machine. In December of that year we filed a patent application as co-inventors and in January of 2012 we received our patent.
Basis for Need
Many born within ten or so years of after WWII, generally called baby boomers, are now attaining an age where more medical assistance will be required. This huge section of our population will within the next few years require more medical help than our existing medical system can deliver. Many will be forced into government-sponsored nursing facilities of one type or the other. There will always be the cases where someone is not fully capable of administering their medications, yet not fully ready for some residential facility. Often times this person has no one to act as a caregiver. Thus, a need arises to have monitoring of medications without direct daily supervision.
My own mother fell into this dilemma as she moved into her later 80s. Living in a different town from where I work, and not desiring to move, my wife and I had hired a lady to visit her several times a week to make sure all was going as planned. This worked well with the exception of her taking her medicines. Due to her failing memory, she began to simply miss medication doses. On one occasion she simply stopped taking one of her heart medications because she felt she did not need it. This resulted in one hospitalization in 2002.
Theory of Operation
There are two separate embodiments of the basic patent pertaining to how standard medical containers are accessed. One is rotary and the other is an in-line linear system. Both support standard off-the-shelf pill containers in what we call “wells.” In the rotary embodiment of our invention, a series of wells are arranged in a carousel. A motor drive system rotates the carousel so that a certain container is located over a pedestal for weighing.
Our system then uses a very sensitive load cell and plunger to lift the container free of the well walls so as to take a very accurate measurement of weight. Once weighed, the container is allowed to once again rest in the center bottom of the well, the carousel rotates, and another container is weighed if necessary.
The carousel is not generally accessible to the patient. Only one container is available at any time and only under system control. In our prototype unit, access was granted through an electronically locked door. Each container has a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag for positive identification.
As the prescription is taken, the weight of the containers decreases and is constantly monitored by the device. Thus, a single dose of medicine can be recorded in most cases. All tracking and monitoring is performed via the Internet to a remote location where problems are detected via computer software. Under, or over medication, can send warnings to a caregiver or other professional who would intervene. Voice and LCD written system requests are also part of our invention. Very simple but monitored steps are performed by the patient.
Photos of our prototype are shown at left. This table top unit is web-ready for connection to a data base monitoring system. The prototype worked as expected and paves the way to a more producible unit. Also, see the “Photos” section of this site for many more pictures of the prototype and related hardware. LSUS and LSUHSC desires to find a company that can take our technology from proven to performing in the field. We believe the potential for this device is large, as it is viable step in the evolution of home health care, and one that we believe must be taken in the near future.