PillDrill gets $3M for medication adherence device

By Heather Mack
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Medication adherence device maker PillDrill has secured $3 million in funding for its flagship product, also called PillDrill, and will be featured on the Consumer Technology Association’s website.

The device, which launched in April, consists of a compact scanning system called the PillDrillHub that is designed to sit next to the user’s pills. When doses are due, it sends out audio-visual alerts, and the user waves their medication container (which has been affixed with a scanning tag). Each scan, or absence of a scan, notifies family members or other concerned parties with an update via a companion app.

PillDrill is a little different in its approach to medication adherence in that it does not seek to change the users' behavior or coach them through lifestyle modifications that make them more aware of the need to stay on their meds. Rather, it tries to fit seamlessly into their daily lives and have a quick, familiar gesture serve as the method for tracking.

“From the outset, we knew we didn’t want people to change their habits, because we know that’s difficult. And we didn’t want something that was a huge reminder of that fact that they need to take medications,” PillDrill CEO and Founder Peter Havas told MobiHealthNews in an interview.

Havas also didn’t want to rely on an app, as he did not see it as a natural part of taking a pill.

“The physical process of entering information into an app is not in line with taking a pill bottle, opening it, putting the pill in your hand and drinking water,” Havas said. “You may stick with an app for awhile because it makes you feel good and your family members see it, but it might not stick long-term because its unnatural and it’s a pain.”

Waving, on the other hand, is something Havas and the PillDrill team thought users could easily handle. Another careful consideration was the design. The device, which was created by a former designer of the Amazon Kindle, was designed to be discreet, not something that screams “medication reminder,” Havas said.

“The device needed to look good and people needed to not be embarrassed. It needed to not be medical in appearance,” Havas said. “And we didn’t want it to send a message that reinforces they are suboptimal in their health, which was something we had to carefully do without trivializing what it actually does.”

The device also comes with a “Mood Cube,” adorned with faces featuring different emotions, that users also wave over the PillDrillHub to track how specific medications are affecting their overall health and emotional well-being.

PillDrill will use the recent funding to build out its distribution channels over the next few months, Havas said, and is look towards partnerships at every available avenue, from retail to pharmaceutical.

“What we really want to get across is that we aren’t trying to be critical and change people’s habits,” Havas said. “We are approaching this very serious issue of medication adherence with a slightly playful, philosophical approach that is just easy."