Digital Medication Dispensing—An Easy Pill to Swallow

Digital Medication: Dispensing An Easy Pill to Swallow

Deadly medication mixups threaten patients and those involved in their care. Drug interactions, lawsuits, and even death can result from human error or lack of communication. Suppose a prescription is hard to read, or a patient forgets to take a pill?

PharmMate™, Porticos’s latest engineering challenge, takes the uncertainty out of prescription management by dispensing medicines as scheduled—no need to rely on a patient’s failing memory or coordination between family members. The brainchild of the medication-focused PharmRight Corporation, PharmMate™ sorts, counts, and dispenses dosages according to the doctor’s orders.

Need a reminder? The device syncs with cloud-based applications and reports, records, and reminds patients and health care teams about digital medication schedules. At the office or on the go, caregivers can ensure patients get the right meds at the right time, simplifying medication delivery and tracking in-home patient compliance.

Streamlined Design Means Streamlined Function

A refined, efficient design makes the appliance user-friendly and reduces cost. Medical Team Leader Ken Hogue explains how the team brainstormed many solutions then prototyped the highest ranked idea. “After several incremental improvements we arrived at the final design. As often happens in innovation, the final design is a hybrid taking the best elements of several ideas.”

Complex Problems, Simplified

Pharmaceuticals come in dozens of shapes and sizes, a significant challenge for Porticos engineers. Designing a delivery system to accommodate all pill configurations demanded creative collaboration, and engineers had to anticipate the needs of patients, pharmacists, medical professionals, and family members. The design team considered multiple contingencies, ensuring that the end product offers reliable dispensing of the whole range of pill sizes and shapes.

Bill Park, President and CEO of PharmRight Corporation, is confident that “Our new home medication dispenser design will greatly simplify setup for caregivers, enable direct loading by pharmacy service providers using RFID technology, and make it easy for patients to take their medications as prescribed.”

Working Prototype Undergoes Testing

Porticos demonstrated a working prototype of the PharmMate™ and PharmRight will conduct internal testing on the complete system in August 2014. A 50-unit usability test is scheduled for the fourth quarter 2014.


About Porticos— Porticos, Inc. is a mechanical engineering and product development company located in Research Triangle Park, NC. Established in 2003, Porticos continues to produce innovative and effective solutions for its clients and the markets they serve. Porticos, Inc. provides mechanical design, analysis, research and development services to clients including Dell, Motorola, Raytheon, and many others. For more information on how Porticos does “product design for the way we’re designed,” please visit

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About Porticos


Porticos, Inc. is a Product Engineering and New Product Development firm located in Research Triangle Park, NC.

Established in 2003, Porticos produces innovative and effective solutions for their clients and the markets they serve. Porticos provides broad expertise in development, planning, and production. 

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