Looking in the Medicine Cabinet
One of the most interesting projects that I heard about at the Gov 2.0 Expo was being developed by David Hale of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. You can see one of the slideshows he developed about so-called "Medicine 2.0" here and an interview with Hale here, in which he explains Pillbox, a pill identification program and patient safety initiative supported by the National Institutes of Health. The project had to deal with a number of challenges, given the thousands of pills on the market in the huge prescription medicine dataset, but they are already considering a number of different kinds of potential applications, although the system can not yet be used by poison control officials or drug enforcement officers, because the website was still a prototype. Nonetheless, Hale described a day in which citizens may be able to use smartphones to shoot digital photos of the seven-day pillboxes of overmedicated relatives and get a complete set of warning labels and cautionary materials about possible drug interactions.