Digital EpiPen Sends SMS Alerts To Emergency Contacts, Guides Bystanders Through Proper Drug Administration

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In a national study of US adults conducted in February 2014, researchers found that 1.6 percent of the population had experienced anaphylaxis caused by an allergic reaction to food, medication, latex, or an insect sting within the last 10 years. Sadly, the report goes on to say that of those who have previously experienced anaphylaxis, only 40 percent still remember to carry an EpiPen. Now Ontario, Canada-based Aterica Digital Health is working to tackle this problem with a smart EpiPen that uses location sensors to alert users when it has been left behind. The new device, called Veta, was unveiled at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and it ushers in a lot of improvements over the traditional EpiPen.

Veta is a cylindrical EpiPen case that houses a proximity sensor, a temperature sensor, and a Bluetooth antenna. The case syncs with an iOS or Android app and, using its proximity sensor, alerts users if they leave home without it. The temperature sensor is used to monitor environmental conditions so that if the temperature gets too hot or cold for the medication to be stored, an alert can be sent to the owner. The case also alerts users when their dose is nearing its expiration date. Should someone have an allergic reaction and need to administer their medication, opening the case will cause an SMS alert to be sent to a pre-designated list of emergency contacts. The alert will explain that the user may be having an allergic reaction, and will provide their location. Next, the app will continually check in with the patient, verifying consciousness and wellbeing. If the patient stops responding, the case begins sounding a loud alarm to alert local bystanders of the emergency. The alarm will also coach bystanders through proper administration of the EpiPen in the event that the patient was unable to administer it themselves. All in all, the device adds a lot of new support tools to help patients living with a condition that has been largely overlooked by the digital health industry thus far.

Aterica was founded in 2012 by a team that was originally planning to enter the Qualcomm X Prize competition, but once the group got together, they realized there were more opportunities in digital health that they could address immediately, so they walked away from the competition and launched their startup. Aterica is now taking pre-orders and expects the device to ship in Fall 2015.


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