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Using mobile health to make contraception more effective

· Mobile Zone

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A recent article in The Economist explored the huge importance of the early years of a child’s life, and even the time spent in the womb.

The article underlined the importance therefore of understanding that you’re pregnant as early as possible so you can adopt healthy lifestyles and give your child the best start.

It went on to suggest that around 50 percent of pregnancies in Britain are unplanned, with women often engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as binge drinking before they know they’ve conceived.

Places like Alaska are installing free pregnancy test machines in bars to try and reduce such unplanned pregnancies, whilst greater use of family planning is becoming commonplace throughout the world.

A recent innovation is trying to ensure that the contraception we do use is used effectively.  Statistics suggest that almost half of unplanned pregnancies occur despite contraception being used.  The implication is that there is a lapse in some way, with the woman forgetting to take their pill regularly.

Pillsy is designed to help.  They provide a smart pouch and smartphone app that they believe will help to remind women to take the pill each day.

The pouch synchronizes with the phone via bluetooth, and users place their pill sheet inside the pouch to receive reminders on their phone at their preferred time each day.

The pouch is able to detect whether a pill has been taken each day, and will provide a series of reminders up until the point that the pill is taken.

There is also a degree of intelligence built into the system.  If, for instance, after monitoring usage over a period of time, there are particular days where the user is at risk of forgetting, the device will alert the user to this risk to ensure no mistakes are made.

The service also provides tailored advice for women in the event that a day is missed.

The pouch is currently in the final stages of design, but users can already sign up to an early adoption scheme to get advanced access.

It’s a nice example of taking an innovative approach to what is a largely unheralded problem.

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