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“Protecting the pill:” Johns Hopkins students develop tamper-proof, biometric pill bottle

Posted: July 1st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Controlled Substances, In the News, Security, Standards | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Over the past few years, prescription drug abuse has been a heated topic here in the U.S. among healthcare professionals and policymakers alike. Engineering students within Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering are taking strides to address continuously alarming drug abuse statistics with the creation of a novel, tamper-proof pill bottle.

As cited in HIStalk Connect’s article, the engineering students were called upon by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to undertake this special project. With more than 16,000 annual deaths attributed to prescription drug-related overdoses, the goal of Hopkins’ project was to develop a robust pill bottle that would help control the nation’s relatively unsecured supply of prescription narcotics. According to assistant professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Kavi Bhalla, the overseeing team wanted “this personal pill ‘safe’ to have tamper resistance, personal identification capabilities and a locking mechanism that allows only a pharmacist to load the device with pills.”

The four engineering undergrads assigned to take on this project answered accordingly–by developing a 2.75 pound, nine-inch-tall, steel-constructed pill bottle that can withstand any hammer or drill activity. Additionally, fingerprint scanners are used to regulate dispensing and ensure that pills are only released to the patient a medication is prescribed to–at proper time intervals and in correct doses. After gaining positive feedback from both Bloomberg clinicians and pharmacists at the on-campus Rite Aid, Hopkins engineering students uncovered an important and overlooked design value: the ability to record medication adherence rates. If connected to a monitoring system, the tamper-proof pill bottle (again, equipped with fingerprint reading capabilities) could eventually be useful to payers and health systems working to reduce funds wasted on poor medication adherence.

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DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit http://www.DoseSpot.com.