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Okanagan healthcare company develops modern medication dispenser

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Okanagan healthcare company develops modern medication dispenser – Jan 13, 2021

A Kelowna healthcare company is marketing an innovative ‘smart’ pill dispenser as the future of in-home medication management.

Catalyst Healthcare’s ‘Spencer‘ is a toaster-sized, computer-controlled, machine that dispenses personalized pill packs that are made for you by a participating pharmacist.

“Spencer is actually a connected healthcare hub,” Catalyst Healthcare CEO Shane Bishop told Global News.

“It actually is set up to address patients that are on multiple medications, making life easier for them.”

“The pharmacies that we usually work with across Canada will deliver medications in a special cartridge to your home,” Bishop explained.

The cartridge box of individual blister packed pills is then loaded into ‘Spencer’ for daily dispensing of medications.

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The machine will then use software that connects to your pharmacy to remind you of your daily medications.

In addition to that, ‘Spencer’ will also monitor your medication intake and forward that information to your pharmacist online.

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Kelowna pharmacist Craig Tostenson was an early adopter of the new ‘smart’ pill dispensing technology.

“It’s quite groundbreaking because, up until now, there’s no real way to measure what we call compliance people taking their medications,” Tostenson said.

At Tostenson’s Glenmore Pharmasave, there are around 30 customers currently using a ‘Spencer’ to dispense their medication.

“We can see when people take their medications. Caregivers and family members can dial into that and see that their loved ones are taking their medications correctly,” said Tostenson. 

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Because it’s a smart device, ‘Spencer’ can connect with a user’s smartphone via an app.

It also has Bluetooth to allow for interaction with heart monitors and glucose meters. It’s even equipped with a camera to act as a telehealth portal.

Catalyst Healthcare says all this technology has been built in for one simple reason.

“Increasing the quality of life by taking away that burden of when to take your medications,” Bishop said.

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According to Bishop, the cost of using ‘Spencer’ is about $1,000 a year.

However, Tostenson notes for people who take six or more medications a day, they are able to offer ‘Spencer’ at no additional cost.

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For more about ‘Spencer,’ click here.