Pillbox vs. Pillboxer vs. The Pill Phone

By Brian Dolan
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myCommunity Pillbox

Indianapolis-based Community Health Network announced today that it will launch its myCommunity Pillbox application for the Apple iPhone and iTouch at the Leadership Summit on Consumer Connectivity in Carlsbad, CA. The company describes the app as "an innovative, user-friendly method for patients to manage medications and important medical information." The company said the app's Version 1.0 will be available "this month" at the Apple iTunes app store, however, as of this writing it is not yet listed. While it's possible the Pillbox application is an innovative take on the popular concept, it's hard to judge since it hasn't launched at the App Store yet. Here's how myCommunity Pillbox stacks up against its competition, at least according to each apps' stated offerings:

 

 

myCommunity Pillbox

> For iPhone and iTouch
> Users can create a list of current medications with dosages and time schedule.
> The app lets users connect to a comprehensive medication database.
> Users can search a list of local personal physicians with office contacts.
> The app is aimed at increasing treatment compliance, patient education, safety and consumer empowerment. 

PillboxerPillboxer

> For iPhone and iTouch
> Search through a database of more than 11,000 FDA-approved medications.
> Track intake of medications, supplements, vitamins
> Visual pillbox buttons quickly identify which meds have been taken
> Email your medication list right from the application
> Notification engine let's you know when your medications should be taken (only if the application is always running on your iPhone, which is Apple's policy)

The Pill BookThe Pill Phone

> Patented mobile medication reminder software available on many wireless phones.
> Only wireless app with FDA approval for medication management.
> Based on the best selling guide, The Pill Book.
> Provides visual/audible prompts.
> Tracks/stores pill-taking records.
> Shows what most pills look like.
> Confirms dose was taken.
> Displays potential side effects. 

"Individuals of all ages are using smart phones to manage schedules, lists, email, the phone, internet browsing, music and video games," said Dan Rench, vice president of e-Business for Community Health Network. "It's a natural evolution to have medication tracking or health care management tools, like Pillbox, on the smart phone."

The Pill Phone and Pillboxer certainly agree. I'm curious to see how Vocel, the company behind The Pill Phone app, leverages its patent on The Pill Phone, which I can only assume is this patent that the US Patent and Trade Office granted the company last April. Pillboxer and myCommunity Pillbox aren't the only applications that could be infringing, it looks to include many, many mobile applications both mHealth and otherwise.

For more, read the myCommunity Pillbox press release here. Also, check out the abstract text from The Pill Phone patent below...

Vocel's patent, which we assume includes The Pill Phone: "The interactive messaging system of the present invention provides for an interactive communication process between users, both senders and recipients. The sender composes a message by filling in a template stored in data services. Once completed, the sender pushes the message to a recipient's wireless device if the wireless device contains a WAP browser, which is capable of receiving pushed messages. Typically the message includes a question along with answers for the recipient to choose from. Each answer corresponds with a pre-assigned response key and the recipient answers the question by selecting one of the pre-assigned response keys. The recipient's response is available to the sender in the form of an e-mail, WAP Push, on-line access or interactive message that is shown to the sender on an on-line status screen."