A new take on a stigmatized object
While half of all Americans take at least one prescription medication per day, over 50% take it incorrectly or not at all. This non-adherence costs thousands of people their lives and the health care system hundreds of billions of dollars per year and yet, the best tools available to help are a plastic box or phone alarm. An under-reported fact of healthcare is that the majority of people on medications in the U.S. are under the age of 50. For many in their 30’s and 40’s a plastic pill box is overkill or an unwanted connotation to old age, and a phone alarm can be too ephemeral. Round Health is the first medication adherence product designed for people, not patients.
The classic orange pill bottles serves as a constant reminder of a person’s illness. Since it is easier to remember something when it isn’t hidden away, we set about creating a pill bottle that people feel comfortable leaving out. Round achieves this by modernizing the shape of the vial and introducing a sleek color scheme reminiscent of the old glass apothecary bottles. Even the base of the bottle has been redesigned, with a special foot to ensure it doesn’t stick to a wet countertop like most bottles do.
By tracking when a medication is taken the Round Health App can provide intelligent reminders for when it is next time to take a medication and avoid unnecessary reminders when a dose has already been taken (a common point of annoyance with other apps). Round can also use the bottle’s location relative to the phone to remind users of a forgotten dose as they leave their house in the morning.
No more half-used prescriptions
The bottle and app work in concert to track how many doses of a prescription remain and automatically requests a refill from the pharmacist exactly when it’s needed. If a patient falls behind on taking their medication, a pharmacist or caregiver can receive a notification through Round to call or message that patient. This saves the user money as well as ensures they don’t turn off automatic refills out of frustration (a common dropoff point in adherence).
A far smarter bottle
The Coin is the brains of the operation and nests inside the bottle cap. Inside the Coin are a microprocessor, bluetooth antenna, LEDs and sensors that make the Round bottle smarter than the rest. The cap detects each time the Bottle is opened it glows a friendly green when closed,providing subtle positive feedback to the patient. The Round Health App is paired with the bottle and records each time it is opened, making sure both the user (and any caregivers) have up to date information on when the medication was taken last.
Design and development
I worked alongside my mechanical engineer and hardware program manager founders, as well as electrical engineer and software engineer to design and build the Round Bottle from initial sketch to final shipping product. Round bottle is the culmination of a year + of hard design and engineering work.
Even though billions of dollars are spent on the research and production of the drugs themselves, the experience of receiving, remembering, and recording these medications is poorly designed with little thought given to the user experience.
Round Health approaches medication adherence not as a problem rooted in patient deficiency or education, but one of poor user experience design. Round improves adherence by removing the multiple points of friction, adding intelligent reminders, and making it simple and hassle-free for a person to take their meds.
Over the course of the development of the Round Bottle we built and tested dozens of prototypes and spoke with nearly 100 users & experts to create a product that would not just work well but fit into the existing healthcare system.