Congratulations to Aaron Foss, creator of MedTaker, for winning the Twilio “Health and Fitness” developer contest! MedTaker takes advantage of the ubiquity of the phone to help people remember to take their medication while at the same time periodically checking in on their wellbeing. As the population gets older, more and more people are taking life-saving medications. Especially with cancer and HIV drugs, timing is vitally important. But, it gets tough for people to remember when to take them all. MedTaker ends all that and help families keep track of older loved ones.
Aaron is a ColdFusion developer from Long Island, NY who runs medical software company (SmartChemo) that makes software for physicians to manage their chemotherapy treatments. We asked Aaron a couple questions about his experiences building MedTaker with Twilio.
How did you get started?
AF: A few years back, my grandmother fell at her house. It was over 10 hours before anyone knew there was a problem and got over to help her. After that, she had to go to an assisted living facility.
When the Twilio ‘health & wellness’ contest was announced, I thought, “How could I have helped that situation using voice apps.” But, I didn’t want to be annoying and calling every few hours just to check in.
Then the brainstorm occurred – seniors take lots of medications throughout the day. It’s a natural touch point to check in on their safety. And so the idea for MedTaker was born.
The idea is simple. First, create a profile for a user and setup all of the drugs they take. Then, schedule each drug to be taken on certain days and at certain times. The system alerts the user when it’s time to take their meds. It tries calling 3 times (10 minutes apart) and if it doesn’t reach the person after 30 minutes, it calls an emergency contact to let them know there may be a problem.
How is going so far?
AF: MedTaker is going to be launched as product of SmartChemo. And, because Twilio is so inexpensive, a freemium/ad-support model is very do-able. There are a lot of features I’d like to add in the future – text message alerts, drug confirmations (Press 1 if you’ve taken this medication), snooze/vacation features, etc. But, this was developed over the course of one weekend so I didn’t have time to do everything I wanted.
What technologies are you using?
AF: The site was developed in ColdFusion with a SQL Server database. Interestingly, Jason Fill made a helper library for CF but Twilio is so easy to use with the native CF http calls, I didn’t even need to use it.
How did you get started developing with Twilio?
AF: This is my first “real” application built with Twilio. I’ve been dabbling with the API and have presented the functionality at the NYC CF users group.
How was the experience of integrating Twilio with your chosen tools and technologies?
AF: I <3 Twilio. Dead simple to make awesome voice/text apps.
Want to win a netbook of your own? For this week’s contest we’re looking for the best use of Twilio in a Windows Phone 7 application. You could win a netbook and $100 in Twilio credit!