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Technology for the Caregiver

There are a variety of devices designed to help the patient and caregiver adhere to the prescribed medication schedule. The simplest devices rely on human discipline whereas more advanced electronic systems provide automated reminders and record keeping. Bear in mind that technology solutions come with equipment costs, setup complexity, and a reliance on batteries, the internet, and cell phone communication. The caregiver and patient will need to find the right balance between capability and complexity. This section describes several useful approaches starting with the simplest and least costly.

Pill Organizers

The simple plastic pill organizer helps the caregiver to assemble and schedule the medication. It is inexpensive, provides a visual reminder to the patient, and helps the caregiver identify any missed doses.

Some pharmacies are able to presort and package medications in convenient daily pouches so that the caregiver does not have to organize the pills. See CVS SimpleDose, AccuPAC, and Amazon Pill Pack for more information. There is usually no additional cost beyond the cost of the medication and insurance is accepted, but contact the vendors for more information.

Online Applications

Calendar app screen shot

Calendar Applications

A calendar application on the patient’s smart phone can be an ideal complement to the pill organizer. Most smart phones have an appointments calendar application that can be used to setup recurring reminders to take the medications, to visit the doctor, to do physical therapy, etc. It should be possible for the patient and caregiver to share a medication calendar, and in this way the caregiver can set up and alter the medication and appointments schedule as needed without having access to the patient’s cell phone. This can even be done remotely if the calendar is stored online.

Perhaps the most popular shared calendar is provided by Google. There are free apps for both Android phones and iPhones, as well as a web interface for your computer. Both caregiver and patient will need a free Google gmail account to create and share calendars. Calendar sharing must be set up on the web at Google calendar sharing cannot be set up using the phone apps, but once set up, the shared calendars can be accessed via the phone apps.

If both the patient and caregiver have Apple iPhones and iCloud accounts, then iCloud calendar sharing can be set up using the free built-in Apple calendar app. Once set up, the shared calendars can be accessed via the iPhone calendar app or via the web at on any computer.

The Microsoft Outlook calendar is another option for Exchange, Microsoft 365, or customers. Shared calendars are set up using the Outlook app.

When using any shared calendar, there are a few points to remember. The calendar apps can support multiple calendars. It is best to create a new calendar specifically for sharing between the patient and caregiver. This way, neither party has access to the other’s private events. The service provider, for example Google, Apple, or Microsoft, may have access to your calendar. Be sure to understand their privacy policy. When setting up a new event, verify that reminders are set for that event and that the patient has not silenced their phone or otherwise turned off the alerts.

Task Scheduling Applications

Beyond calendar applications, there are purpose-built apps for organizing family activities. These apps offer additional features such as to-do lists, messaging, and even location tracking. There may be extra costs for using these apps. See for example the Cozi  app. 

Self Care Applications

Meditation can be an effective approach to relieving stress. Online applications such as Headspace, InsightTimer, and Calm  can help the caregiver to schedule time for meditation, provide background music and sounds, and offer guidance. 

Medication Management Apps

Medisafe app
There are a number of smart phone applications (apps) specially designed to help the patient and caregiver manage a medication regimen. They are easily downloaded and installed on the phone. Some apps support both Apple iPhones and Android phones, but others are limited to just one type of phone. These apps usually provide a free tier of service with limited functionality and a monthly subscription plan with enhanced features, although the vendors are not always clear about this upfront. They may also make money selling data to the healthcare companies, see their privacy policy for the details. There is a good review of medication reminder apps at the online doctor site.

Medisafe    – This app provides reminders to the patient to take the medications,
 enables the patient to log having taken the medication, and provides alerts when it is time to refill the prescription. The patient can choose to share Medisafe information with a caregiver who will be notified if the patient misses a dose. The app also provides warnings regarding possible drug interactions (US only).

Dosecast – Provides a flexible reminder system that schedules medications on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Allows for doses to be delayed or skipped. Tracks the time zone and adjusts the schedule appropriately. The paid version enables the patient to synchronize the medication data across Apple, Android, and Amazon devices, and can deliver reminders to all devices simultaneously. One app can support multiple family members. Data can be shared with caregiver and pharmacy.

CareZone – Provides medication reminders as well as storing medical information. One app can support multiple family members. CareZone is affiliated with a pharmacy service that enables the patient to order refills through the app and have the medication delivered in presorted packs, organized by date and time.

Medication Dispensers

The following devices use special hardware to organize and monitor medication. Unfortunately, many of these devices are in their early stages of commercialization, are undergoing rapid product development, and appear to be frequently out of stock. Before buying any of these devices, read any available online reviews. Carefully consider how the device will operate in the event of a power failure or loss of connectivity to a smart phone or to the internet.
e-Pill TimeCap – This is a simple device that replaces the cap on a bottle of medicine. It displays the date and time when the pill bottle was last opened to help prevent double dosing. It can also be programmed to sound alarms to notify the patient that it is time to take the medication. Each medication will require its own TimeCap. This device is self-contained, battery-powered, and does not require a smart phone. This simple device does not provide a history of medication nor provide any notifications to the caregiver.

TinyLogics Smart Pillboxes – A line of small pill organizers with built-in electronics that provide reminders to the patient to take their medications. The medication schedule is set up using a smart phone application, but the alarms can function independently of the smart phone. When used with a smart phone, the system can track dosage history and provide reminders to refill the prescriptions. Care givers can access the data remotely via a cell phone app, and receive notifications if a dose is missed.
MedMinder – This stand-alone device combines a pill organizer with a video display. The caregiver loads the pills into a removable tray that is then installed into the device. There is also an online pharmacy option for automatically filling and shipping the trays. The device provides visual and audio alerts when it is time to take the pills. The appropriate compartment in the pill tray will illuminate to indicate which pills are to be taken. Other compartments can be locked to prevent mistakes. The caregiver can remotely manage the reminders, receive alerts and weekly summaries. There is a monthly service charge, but no upfront fee. The MedMinder has a built-in cellular radio or can use the patient’s Wi-Fi connection. No cell phone is needed.

Pria – This is also a stand-alone device with pill dispenser and video display, but it is more sophisticated than the MedMinder. The pill tray is mounted inside the unit. At the appropriate time, the needed pills are dispensed into a pill cup. The device uses face recognition to verify the patient. The display can be used for two-way video calling. The Pria requires an upfront purchase as well as a monthly service charge, and uses patient’s Wi-Fi connection. In addition, a cell phone is needed to run the app that sets up the device.


This page provides basic information regarding medication management technology and services based on our review of product information. These listings do not constitute an endorsement by the End Brain Cancer Initiative. Caregivers are encouraged to consult hands-on reviewers before making a purchase. All links on this page are for your convenience. End Brain Cancer Initiative will not receive compensation if you visit the sites or choose to make a purchase.


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