Case Study: InPower Connected Personal Medication Assistant

Medical device design to improve medication adherence at home

InPower connected personal medication assistant
Front view of InPower connected medical device design by Nottingham Spirk

The Medical Device Design Innovation Challenge

For most medications to work effectively, the patient needs to take them exactly as prescribed at least 80 percent of the time. But according to a 2018 report published in the journal U.S. Pharmacist, 50-percent adherence rates are more common among patients with chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other serious ailments. People suffering from multiple chronic diseases may be on several prescriptions, each with its own requirements. Setting and keeping a schedule can be challenging, and the stakes are high.

“Medication adherence can affect quality and length of life, health outcomes, and overall healthcare costs,” the report states. “Nonadherence can account for up to 50 percent of treatment failures, around 125,000 deaths, and up to 25 percent of hospitalizations each year in the United States. … Approximately $100 to $300 billion in healthcare costs could be curtailed annually by addressing medication adherence.”

Developing a Connected Medication Dispenser with Alarms

With statistics like these in mind, Nottingham Spirk partnered with Cardinal Health on a ground-breaking medication adherence device that also collects relevant body metrics for optimal health and wellness. The first device of its kind, the InPower provides audible alerts and dispenses pills from pre-filled pill pods that patients obtain from their pharmacists. Compact and attractive enough to sit on a kitchen counter, the automated medication dispenser also pairs easily with other connected health-monitoring devices, providing the necessary data that pharmacists, doctors and family members can use to ensure the best possible outcomes.

InPower automated medication dispenser full system with alarms

Above: The InPower Connected Home Health & Wellness System

Designing the Automated Medication Dispenser’s User Experience

At the start of use, the patient meets with a pharmacist who programs the device according to the patient’s prescriptions and lifestyle. This meeting strengthens the relationships between patient and pharmacist, who understands potential side effects and critical drug interactions. After that, refill pods are obtained at the pharmacy like any other prescription, and patients are given illustrated histories of how their medication adherence that month has affected their body metrics and overall health and wellness. The pods are inserted directly into the InPower device; the user does not have to count out and transfer pills by hand. No other product on the market offers this level of convenience and safety.

Groundbreaking Medical Product Innovation

InPower is the first major consumer product for Cardinal Health, a global, integrated healthcare services and products company. Nottingham Spirk provided the expertise Cardinal Health needed to develop a consumer-oriented medical product, interviewing prescription drug users identifying pain points, and designing and engineering a device that would be easy to use, reliable and reasonably priced.

“We have several successful field tests and are seeking a partner for a national roll-out,” says Cardinal Health’s Brent Stutz, SVP Commercial Technologies. “Our deep experience in the healthcare ecosystem enables great understanding of policy, forms, and regulation, and leverages our distribution in 85 percent of U.S. hospitals and access to 20,000 health care providers and 24,000 pharmacists with 7,000 retail independents nearly every day. We are seeking a trusted consumer brand and ideally, an analytics partner.”

Cardinal Health will manage the software and pharmacy side of the business and the consumer brand partner will own the manufacturing, marketing and retail aspects of the business. For more details, email innovation@nottinghamspirk.com or call 216-356-4124.

To learn more, discover Nottingham Spirk’s medical device design services and our InnovateMD program.

Cardinal Health logo

Nottingham Spirk partnered with Cardinal Health on a ground-breaking connected medication adherence and wellness system that provides audible alerts, dispenses pills, and collects relevant body metrics.

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