Discover more from Morning Walk Newsletter
Morning Walk #41
How to leverage technology to make sure you don’t miss your medications
Hi. I’m Stepa Mitaki. I’m a product person and an entrepreneur. I’ve been working in 🏙 govtech for eight years and currently work at a UK-based 🏦 fintech startup Silverbird while building a new company in 👩🏼⚕️ health tech on the side.
Morning Walk is a personal weekly newsletter where I share some musings on tech, digital healthcare, working on startups, productivity, some nerdy stuff and an occasional share of reflections on the Ukraine war and how it feels being Russian at this moment in history.
Sign up below to get the latest in your inbox
This issue was sent out to 165 subscribers (+43 from the previous week). Last week’s issue received 500 views.
💊 How to leverage technology to make sure you don’t miss your medications
A couple of weeks ago, I was on a 2-week medication treatment prescribed by my doctor. During the course of 14 days, I had to take roughly 180 pills in total (13 pills every single day). As a nerd, I spent about 30 minutes sorting the pills in my pillbox and setting up reminders to take them. Still, even with all my nerdiness, I missed about 15% or 20% of all the pills.
I can imagine I'm not the only one. It's not that big of a deal if you need to take pills after each food intake, but things can get much more complicated when you throw in some additional conditions. Mine, for instance, were:
1 pill I had to take one hour before breakfast
2 other pills to take 30 minutes before breakfast
1 pill one hour before lunch
1 pill one hour before dinner
How the hell do you keep track of these if you don't eat on a strict schedule?
Imagine how many people are missing these intakes just because it's impossible not to forget about some of them. I wonder if there is a way to leverage technology to do that.
In watchOS 9, Apple introduced medication reminders as a new native app. The concept is not a new and relatively straightforward one. You manually enter each pill, dosage, and time when you need to take it, and it fires up a notification at that moment.
I can't believe there still isn't a better way to do things. Let's unpack what can be improved here.
1. Sorting the pills
Fortunately, this is already available. I'm aware of the PillPack (acquired by Amazon), but I bet there must be some other similar players on the market.
PillPack works directly with your doctor, packages your medication, and delivers it to your door. All you have to do is tear the pack and take your dose. I haven't used it, but it looks super slick.
2. Setting up the reminders
Setting up the reminders manually seems like a stone age now. The best experience from the user's standpoint would be to scan the prescription with the camera and automatically receive completed reminders in return.
It's not a trivial task, but it doesn't sound like rocket science either. Collect an extensive dataset of prescription formats, throw in some machine learning, and add some rules on handling the data. There you have it.
3. Sending reminders at flexible times
This is the most difficult one. Mainly there are five categories of moments when you need to take your meds.
Just after waking up
This one is easy. Your phone and smart watch know when you start your date. There should be an option to set the reminder at "after waking up."
Just before going to sleep
A bit more tricky but still doable. Your phone knows when you usually put it away so that it can trigger a notification 10-20 minutes before that time.
Before the meal / during the meal / after the meal
This is the most common one and the most difficult to track. The only way it is being addressed is by setting a reminder at a specific time and hoping for the best you'd stick to that exact schedule to have food. Usually, when you deviate from the schedule, you just postpone the notification. But that helps only when you had a meal after you were planning to have that.
Here are a couple of ideas on how you could track "having a meal":
Track food delivery orders. You order something – usually, that means you are going to have a meal.
App usage patterns related to meal times. For instance, I know many people watching YouTube when having lunch. The device could learn that over time and send you a notification saying, "Hey, it seems like you're having a meal. Don't forget to take your meds".
Device usage itself that might be related to meal times. For instance, my iMac knows that I usually work from 9 am to 5 pm and that my screen time reduces around 2 pm. This could also be an indicator that I went to have a meal.
Do you have any other ideas on how technology could improve this experience?
Things I've been reading/watching/enjoying
🧖🏼♀️ Wellness as entertainment (read)
In his monthly newsletter, Justin Mares shares this novel idea of wellness as entertainment. Spending a lot of time socializing recently, I’ve noticed how most of this falls into just eating and drinking together. But there are new, more healthy yet fun options emerge. Exciting to see where it could go.
A trend I’m very excited about is one I’m calling wellness as entertainment: a category of activities that are both good for your health and fun. More and more, I’m seeing friends choose to do things like evening breathwork, sound baths, sauna sessions, an evening swim rather than drink and hit the bars.
Ray Dalio, the author of the book Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail, made this 40-minute video summarizing his entire book on a high level. The general idea is that about every 250 years, the world order changes, no matter what. We had Dutch Empire, then British, now the US as the leading countries, and so on. What strikes the most is that Ray Dalio has managed to identify metrics from history that support this theory and can be applied to understand the world we live in today.
🗒 The flipped meeting model (read)
If you’ve been struggling with too many meetings since the pandemic in your remote working environment, here is an exciting mindset framework to use them better.
In traditional learning, lower level of learning such as remembering and understanding is happening in class, while students are usually left to work on activities that involve higher level of learning outside of the classroom. However, in the flipped classroom model, learning is flipped. Students can finish the lower level of cognitive work before class. And when they come to class, they can engage in higher cognitive levels of learning with peers and teacher present.
Every day Refind picks 7 links from around the web for you, tailored to your interests. Loved by 50k+ curious minds. Subscribe for free today.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Until next week 👋🏻
This post is public so feel free to share it.