A smartphone application capable of identifying medicines based on their appearance was unveiled May 7 by National Yang-Ming University in Taipei City.
Designed for home care professionals, AIGIA can recognize around 400 commonly used drugs and provide detailed information on the pharmaceuticals in English, Indonesian, Malay and Vietnamese. It is designed to work in conjunction with MedBox, a mobile imaging device also created by the NYMU team for photographing medicines.
According to the university, around 500,000 seniors in Taiwan have multiple chronic diseases and need to take several drugs every day. As many pills are similar in size and appearance, more than half of such elderly patients have reported mistakenly taking the wrong medication, NYMU said.
Dr. Chen Yu-chun, an associate professor at the college and head of the R&D team, said that many patients in Taiwan discard external packaging and store pills in the same box, which can create difficulties for caregivers. The app provides a simple solution in case of uncertainty, with initial trials at Taipei Veterans General Hospital demonstrating that it has an accuracy rate of about 95 percent, he added.
In addition to drug identification, the program offers multilingual information on the 18,025 medications covered by Taiwan’s National Health Insurance program, according to NYMU. (CPY-E)