The smart medicine-dispensing locker system which won this year’s R1million Hack.Jozi grand prize is almost ready to launch its pilot phase.

Created by Neo Hutiri, the Technovera Locker System is designed to shorten the time chronic patients spend queuing for their repeat prescriptions to be filled, as well as streamlining operations for state healthcare facilities, and improving compliance and reducing the cost of chronic patient care.

Since winning Hack.Jozi, Hutiri has gone on to win Samsung South Africa Launching People – Mixed Talents competition for the solution, bagging R50 000 startup capital and access to over R300 000 worth of business support tools from Samsung’s partners.

Together with the Department of Health, the Innovation Hub, the Cities of Tshwane and Joburg, as well as medical and pharmaceutical stakeholders and patients, Technovera has been developed and will be piloted in the near future.

“Proving compliance, security and confidentiality, as well as ensuring that the system innovates within the constraints of a highly regulated environment, has been challenging,” Hutiri said about developing the system.

“However, I believe that the digitised, smart system will deliver a broad range of benefits to healthcare service providers and patients alike, with the potential to integrate into other centralised health care and patient management systems for enhanced service delivery in future,” he said.

How it will work

The Technovera solution includes a smart locker, an SMS notification system and chronic medication collection tracking.

Patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens, for example, who are stable chronic patients, typically have a six-month repeat prescription with an evaluation due every six months.

For five of every six months, the process of collecting the repeat prescription need not involve the nurse, patients could simply be authenticated and collect their medication.

“By introducing this innovation, we can allow for pre-packed medication to be placed in smart locker cubicles and automatically notify the patients via SMS that their prescriptions are ready for collection,” Hutiri explained.

Each patient is validated by entering a one-time PIN and their cellphone number, which electronically unlocks their compartment.