National Institute of Health Innovation, The University of Auckland
Quality use of medication by older people is becoming an important challenge with the demographic shift and increasing burden on our healthcare system. There is a significant emphasis on improving medication adherence as well as safety. We developed an automated dialogue system for residents of an Aged Care Facility (ACF) who were on multiple medications to help them manage their medications better. The dialogue was delivered spoken as well as via a written display over a touch screen mounted on a robot. Each session assisted the identified users in finding the right medication, and taking the right dose at the right time through the right route. It also included dialogues on side effects monitoring and other essential drug information. The data on the robot were exchanged wirelessly with a remote health record (called Robogen) in real time. The sessions were video logged, researcher notes and semi-structured interviews were conducted to elicit acceptance and usability information. Six participants interacted over a two-week period. Most users found the system easy to use and helpful and demonstrated evidence of task mastery by the 3rd or 4th sessions. We conclude that such a system can be used to enhance quality of use of medication by the elderly, but we need to better understand and address user behaviour while designing such system.