Flash Says…

My dream phone app: a medicine reminder

Posted on: 2012-10-16

I take a number of tablets every day. I’ve more or less given up respecting which are due every six hours and which every eight; I take them all every six hours and hope that things even out while I’m asleep. But that’s not what I ought to do. So would you like to write me this app?

I need far more than just a few self-set alarms on my phone! I’d even be willing to pay for an Android app, if it does the following:

  • Records the details of at least 20 medicines and the intervals in which they may be taken. This is important because phones and even special pill reminder machines only have 5-8 alarms that can be set. I have 11 meds which I need to take every other day, daily, twice daily, every 8 hours, and every 6 hours. Moreover, if my nausea is really bad when I wake, I take a tablet that can only be repeated every 8 hours. If nausea is less bad, or dizziness is worst, I take one that repeats every 6 hours instead. See how easy it is for even an intelligent person to cock this up?
  • It should respect phone settings – not alarming when phone is off, going to silent or vibrate when ringer is set to this, etc. but still showing on the screen.
  • I would like to turn off the alarm, by telling it “I’m going to sleep now” and to turn alarms back on by telling it “Im awake now”. At the point of being told I’m awake, it should tell me which meds are due and restart the countdown for each med at the point that I say yes, I’ve taken them. I guess if the phone is turned on after a period of being off, it should also check then whether any meds are now due (is that even possible?)
  • “Ive taken meds” should require a tap to confirm, in case I fell asleep again / got distracted after it reminded me they were due. Not sure how we deal with choosing not to take some – maybe there could be an option for each med to say whether it is regular or optional, and whether you want to be reminded about it whenever it can be taken, or only if it was already taken that day? Maybe an “I’ve taken all of them” button but also a “let me tell you which I’ve taken” button which then leads you through each med that was due – have you taken this (y/n)?
  • There needs to be some way of dealing with a reminder to take meds when I don’t have them with me. Maybe options like “I’ve taken them” “Remind me again in 10 minutes / 30 minutes / an hour”
  • It would be useful to be able to press a button and find out “What can I take now?” – for example if the pain is really bad and I want to know if I can take that extra NSAID or not. Particularly useful for people who have some meds which are optional and only taken as needed, so they may not be regularly reminded, but are an option if necessary.
  • It should keep an inventory. That is, each med should be able to be programmed with how many tablets you have, and how many you get per prescription or packet. Then when it thinks you have taken enough that you have only enough for a week at maximum dosage, it prompts you to get a repeat prescription / buy more. The inventory must allow for tablets which are taken two at a time. For example I have 2 x 30mg dihydrocodeine as I find it acts faster than 1 x 60mg.

So in summary
…Alarm options should be “Not taking any” “Remind me again in…[10 mins / 30 mins / 1 hr]” “I’ve taken some [leads you through which ones]” “I’ve taken them all!” and it should reset the countdown for each med at the point you confirm having actually taken it, rather than the time when the alarm went off.
…General features should be buttons saying “I’m [awake / asleep]” “I’ve taken something extra!” (for tablets taken as and when, or not every day) and “What can I take now?” as well as a med management menu (add / remove / edit a med)
…Settings for each med should be name, interval when it can be taken, number taken at once, remind or not?, and how many you have left. All of which can be entered / configured by the user.

So, do any of my geek readers have the ability and time to make such an app? I’d be glad to test it!

And my disabled readers, would this be useful to you? What would make it more useful?


7 Responses to "My dream phone app: a medicine reminder"


Receive automatic daily alerts
Customize the daily schedule to match your needs
Change the alarm sound to make medication alarms unique
Add vibration and flashing light
Add an unlimited number of Medications
Add an unlimited number of customizable times
Disable the alarm for particular times
New! Ability to enter fractional quantities, e.g. 1.5
Comes pre-loaded with many popular medications
Pillbox Alert sounds the alarm even when your phone is asleep.
Pillbox Alert resumes the schedule even after you reboot your phone
Easy one-click snooze for 15, 30, or 60 minutes.
Displays what you’ve taken or skipped today.
Toggle alarm on and off by clicking the alarm icon.
New! Ability to mark meds as Taken or Skipped in advance.

Never has a comment I’ve written felt more like spam…

Thanks! A twitter friend found that too, as all my searches of Google Marketplace were just finding timer apps. But – it sounds when phone is asleep – a definite no-no for me, it would wake me. I do NOT want something which just goes off every X hours as it would wake me and I need my sleep, usually about 12 hours a day. And no inventory, which would be extremely useful (but, tied to how often I actually take them as I sometimes take too many (oops!) or too few tablets).

If anyone can take the source and modify it, that could work quite well and be the bulk of the work done already.

I use Tasker – tasker.dinglisch.net . It costs £3.50 for the full version but i felt it was worth it and there is a 7 day trial. Steve set it up for me but im sure you could manage. I have icons that are green ticks for each “doses must be x hours apart” medication (4hrs or 6hrs for me). When i click, it turns to a red circle for the duration until the next dose. It also saves what i had and when i had it to a small text file.

If i plug my phone in to charge between 9pm and midnight it prompts me to take my night time tablets. It also freezes the screen with the alert for a full 15 seconds so i cant just click next and ignore it.

You can set other triggers in it as well based on any information your phone has. Time, obviously… Charging status… Wifi network… Even gps location (eg if location is Bob’s house, turn on wifi and connect to Bob’s network). Just play and figure out what helps.

The problem is the wetware… I pick up my phone to log a tablet but forget what i picked up the phone for, and start looking at my shopping list or something.

Thanks! Can I tell it NOT to alarm when I’m asleep, i.e. tell it when to stop alarming and when to start again? I really don’t want to be woken by it as it can take me a while to get to sleep due to pain, but due to fatigue I then need to stay asleep for 12 hours! So that kind of flexibility is critical for me, and I suspect for other spoonies who have fatigue, sleep odd hours, or get to sleep late because of pain so need to lie in the next day.

I checked with Steve. He says yes. You can tell it, if set of conditions X is met, go to phone settings Y, for Z hours.

Conditions could be anything from poking a widget on the screen, to any aspect of physical environment that the phone can sense. Settings can be as complicated as you have patience for (you’re familiar with Linux, aren’t you? If so this will be a doddle).

So for instance one of his is that if his phone is plugged in and face down between 11pm and 6am, then he is asleep, and it is not to make any noises at all, *unless* a priority phone number (like my mobile) calls, in which case it should ring full volume…

A reply to Mary, as for some reason I’m unable to reply to your comment directly… just to say great! I’m not sure which criteria I’d use, as when I can’t sleep I do use my phone for twitter etc and I’d not want it alarming at that time (e.g. 4am!) but I will have a think of ways I could programme the app.

Still doesn’t do inventory, though 🙂

I went around Naidex today and didn’t see anything suitable in terms of a gadget, either. Lots of pill holders / timers but nothing complicated enough, they all seemed to be aimed at carers setting them for a person with dementia or similar. Bother!

Flash you can also use one of the Profile apps on Android to control the volume at set times. I use Profile Scheduler which can be set to silence alarms at a certain time if I am home (which it knows from the wifi SSID).

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