Hero Medication Dispenser

Starting as low as $29.99/ month +$99.99 Initiation fee

The Hero Pill Dispenser is designed to help you improve your adherence to the medication regimen prescribed by your healthcare providers.

It does that by helping to organize your medication; remind you which pills to take and when to take them; and helping you to refill your prescriptions when you need to.

– Hero stores, sorts and dispenses up to a 90-day’s supply of 10 different medications.
– The Hero membership model allows us to offer the full Hero experience to as many users as possible at an affordable price.
– Push button for auto sort and dispense when Hero alerts you it’s pill time
– Hero membership includes access to the Hero device, the Hero app, and 24/7 support.
– Use the Hero app to program any pill regimen, simple or complex.

Hero Medication Dispenser

The Hero Pill Dispenser is designed to help you improve your adherence to the medication regimen prescribed by your healthcare providers. It does that by helping to organize your medication; remind you which pills to take and when to take them; and helping you to refill your prescriptions when you need to.

The big advantage of this product, and others in the family of “robot pill organizer / dispensers”, is that they do the work of organizing your pills into different dose groupings for you. There is no longer any need to painstakingly sort pills into different sections of a pill box according to when they need to be taken.

Features

Which Medications Can It Handle?

According to the website “Hero can dispense pills of any shape, size, or texture. Hero, however, cannot dispense half pills, injectables, liquids, or soft gummies, like chewy children’s vitamins.”. It does not handle liquid or non-room temperature medications, although it can “remind” you about them.

The overall look and feel of the product is very modern and “consumer-ish” — as distinct from “medical-ish”.

Security & Anti-tampering

The pill compartments in the system itself are locked by a key, but can be accessed via the buttons on the unit, as described under “Separation between Dispensee and Filler Roles” above.

This seems to us to be a potential problem in the situation of a dispensee with cognitive impairment who might get confused as to which compartment to open and when.

Adjusting medication schedules happen via the App, which can be limited to Caregivers if that is appropriate.

Hacking the System

Because it is connected to the Internet, it is theoretically possible someone could hack into and gain control of the system. When we brought this up with the company they told us they had gone to a lot of trouble to make the system resistant to such hacking. But it is always hard to know just what that means.

Power & Battery Backup

The system is designed to be plugged in to the power outlet. Unlike most of its competitors, it does NOT include a battery backup, and the company reccommends adding an uninterruptible power supply (like many people do for their computer). If your WiFi goes down when power is out, then the connection to the Internet (and thus caregiver alerts) will no longer work.

Vacations & Trips & Leaving the House

We went away for a couple of weeks while using the product. We simply turned it off and left it. When we returned we turned it back on, and it started working again immediately without needing any “set up”.

It would be quite difficult to take the system with you on a trip. It is large and bulky, and definitely not something to go in your suitcase. Furthermore, the internal mechanism is apparently rather delicate and definitely not designed to be “luggable”.

The product lets you dispense medications “early”. It is relatively simple to have it dispense “multiple” future doses if you are going away for several days, but it is a bit tedious, as it dispenses each one at a time.

Overview

Dispensing: The Interface for the Dispensee (person taking the pills)

The primary interface you see on the product is a screen and some buttons (see image above).

When it is time for a scheduled dose of medication, the Hero pill dispenser starts flashing and makes a noise (a sort of “ding”) to alert you.

You need to read the screen, which asks you to press the button to dispense your medication. After pressing (plus a second confirming press), the machine whirs for a bit (less than a minute), and then dispenses the medications which drop out the bottom into a small translucent cup.

How it Communicates: Voice, Beeps, Lights etc

The Hero does not talk to you. It communicates via beeps and flashing light, and a notification via the App on your smart phone. Once it gets your attention, you are expected to read the screen.

Early / Late / Missed Doses / Flexibility

In between scheduled doses, the screen allows you to navigate to several “Dispense” options, including getting a “future dose”, “skipped / missed dose” or “”As needed medication”.

The Right Pills at the Right Time.

This product takes on multiple tasks, all of great importance to taking the right medications at the right time.

Technology

User Interface (UI)

One of the common scenarios in which these types of products will be used involve two different people. One, which we call the “dispensee”, is the person who consumes the medication, and who needs to interface with the machine when it is time for the medications to be dispensed.

The second, which we call the “filler”, is the person who worries about putting the right medication into the system every week or month, and who sets up the “dispensing schedule” according to whatever schedule has been prescribed by the physicians of the dispensee.

In many scenarios, the filler will be a caregiver, or spouse, or adult child of the dispensee. However there will also be situations in which the dispensee also performs the job of the filler (i.e. when you worry about your own medication management instead of involving someone else).

The primary user interface for this product is via a set of buttons (a primary button and four “directional” smaller buttons) that control options on a screen on the front of the product. You use the central button to “select” choices on the screen, and the arrows (smaller buttons) around the central button to move around the screen. For someone familiar with this type of interface (like our review team), it works pretty well. We worry that for the non-tech-savvy older adult, this may seem less intuitive than a touchscreen, but we did not do specific testing of that.
The system gets your attention with lights and sounds and various types of notifications (eg text messages).

The Hero pill dispenser comes with a companion “App”. It can also be programmed using a web portal.