I recently had contact with an enterprising pharmacist by the name of Steve Cohen.
Steve had an idea for a mobile phone app that would bring dispensed medicine directions to life by utilising QR codes to enable a patient to “hear” their medication instructions in a language of their choice.
This initiative forms part of the general move in the pharmacy profession to improve health literacy and to manage disability.
As such, Steve’s project (titled “Our Pills Talk”) has started to attract industry support and it is Steve’s hope that he can convert some of this support into committed financial investment.
i2P likes to offer editorial support as an assist to any Australian pharmacist who wishes to promote innovation and invention.
We asked Steve to give us the background to the “Our Pills Talk” initiative:
“By way of introduction, I am a pharmacist who, for a long time now, has been involved at the coalface within the retail and manufacturing packaging design industries for many years.
In 2013, I instigated and finally had formed, a working group with our TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration).
I am now a member, of their “Packaging and Labelling” committee, based in Canberra.
My main concerns have basically related to safety and quality in packaging design, saving lives, and, as my priority, assisting the visually-impaired with their medication management.
For my concept I won first prize in the NSW Health competition in March 2013 for my app OUR PILLS TALK.
This competition required ideas for apps to assist with the health of our patients.
My targeted patients include the visually-impaired, the elderly, dyslectic and ADHD patients, ESL (English As Second Language) patients, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders (including those requiring assistance with Health Literacy), and those of us too lazy or unable to read small print.
My aim is to have these patients scan a sticker generated by their pharmacist and fixed to the original packaging at the end of their dispensing and then hear their medication instructions in a language they know and understand.
The idea was pitched to Grant Kadarchi at one of our NSW PSA Branch Committee meetings when ideas for pharmacy’s 6CPA were asked for.
The following operational description was given:
The pharmacist attaches a square-shaped QR Bar Code sticker to the visually-impaired patient’s medication. Once the patient scans their QR Bar Code with their Smart Phone app. it converts the Text-To-Speech, speaking out the doctor’s instructions on how to take their medication correctly.
Other QR Bar Codes can be generated to speak out their CMI (Consumer Medication Information), their Webster Pack (Dosage Administration Aid or DAA) information, or, in the case of an emergency, another QR Barcode with their patient medication history.
These QR Barcodes can also be printed on the white column located on the long edge of their prescription repeat forms to assist the patient in knowing what repeats they have remaining, and confirming with reassurance that this prescription repeat is for them.
Our Pills Talk has already won an award and the link below shows my award presentation by our NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, at Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney.
I am, as well as being a recent committee member of our NSW Pharmaceutical Society, also a member of an advisory panel for glaucoma, highlighting ways to assist pharmacists in creating Glaucoma Awareness through Pharmacy. This committee includes our Glaucoma Australia CEO, Geoff Pollard, as well as top Australian ophthalmologists and pharmacists.
I also have affiliations with Vision Australia, as well as Microsoft who assisted me with IT support from RMIT students in developing my OUR PILLS TALK app for their Microsoft platform.
In final term 2013, I received IT support in developing the initial app from final year Computer Science students at Macquarie University.
Two groups of students worked on the OUR PILL TALK app:
# first group developed the app for the Apple iOS iPhone platform, and
# the second group for the Android smartphone.
All going well, I will also have an excellent contact with the head of Nokia in the USA, through mutual colleagues.”
i2P believes that this is a product that should be supported. It is a product that would build loyalty between pharmacists and their patients and is an app that can be prescribed by consultant pharmacists.
It is a product that is also likely to build a rapport with the medical profession if an investment is made in a visit to the GP practice to provide a professional detail.
Steve would welcome support from:
* potential investors, including venture capitalists.
* other project developers that could use the app to extend their own innovation.
* people from within the industry who can assist in promotion and distribution
* People who can introduce Steve to grant applications to cover major expenses up to market ready position, and further, costs for launching the product on the market.
Interested people can obtain more information (including a copy of the business plan), by contacting: