Get This App: Pillboxie
[Apps to the left of you! Apps to the right of you! In the crowded app marketplaces, it’s all too easy to overlook a useful piece of mobile software. Our Get This App series can guide you to these under-appreciated gems.]
I can rattle off song lyrics to most Gilbert and Sullivan operettas or give you a list of the top twenty teams in roller derby without so much as a glance at my phone. But when it comes to keeping a list of to-dos, my memory stinks—even more so when said to-dos involve remembering to take my medicine.
So last week, when my doctor put me on a round of antibiotics that consisted of four pills a day, I knew I was in trouble. My first thought was to rely on my trusty reminder app, Due; unfortunately, neither it nor the Reminders app for iOS can handle multiple reminders throughout the day for a single event. To make it fit to my needs, I’d have to make four separate reminders, then re-use them every day.
Instead, I turned to my trusty companion Twitter for some app suggestions. The resounding favorite was Jared Sinclair’s Pillboxie, and after using it for a few days, I can safely say my friends were right on the money.
Created by a registered nurse, Pillboxie is not only a great reminders app—and perfect for the task at hand—but it’s adorable in both design and function. The interface resembles a glass medicine cabinet, filled with cartoony representations of the medicines you’ve asked the app to track. To add a medication, you must first choose its look and color; the app has options for round, oblong, rectangle, square, triangle, gelcap, and capsule pills, along with representations of liquid, powder, a syringe, drops, an inhaler, or a custom photo of your medicine. In addition, you can name your medicine, write down your reason for taking it, and add any extra instructions.
Once you’ve added a medication, it pops up on your shelf with three buttons above it: Details, Schedule, and History. To add days and times, tap the Schedule button. You can choose from a variety of daily options (Daily, Every X Days, Weekly, Monthly, As Needed, or Not Currently Taken) to start; and if, as I did, you need to take a medicine several times daily, tap the Times button and drag a physical representation of your pill into a blue pillbox, which is labeled in half-hour increments.
The app’s organization is well thought out, and even provides for multiple patient and medicine logs, in case you’d like to keep track of someone’s doses separate from your own. You can also browse your dosage history and make notes on your progress, or send a list of your medications via email.
Of course, while the aesthetics of Pillboxie make it a fun app to use, it was the reminders functions that sold me. You can configure notifications to work much like they do in any other app—appear once, then hide in notification center—or, if you need to be pestered, you can turn on Nagging Reminders, which will bleep at you every minute until you check off your dosage.
Seeing as how Pillboxie is rather niche by design, it may never hit the top of the paid store charts. But if you like keeping track of your medicine, you should absolutely get this app.
Developer: Jared Sinclair
Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch