For the cloud integration portion of this project one of the goals is to use prescription APIs for various pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) to lookup medicine data from a scanned barcode. This is proving more difficult that I originally expected. Here's some of the information I have gathered so far:
Walgreens Pharmacy Prescription API: Walgreens has a great API for mobile devices (Android/iOS) that allows patients to request refills by either choosing a medicine on their Walgreens account or by scanning a Walgreens barcode. I was able to create an account and get an API key but after reading the fine print: "Prescription APIs are currently only available for integrations on mobile & tablet native applications." This means that I can't do any refill magic (based on inventory in the machine) from my server on the cloud. This isn't the end of the world here because I can still make an android app that interfaces with the Medicine Organizer device as well as the Walgreens prescription API. I can't refill prescriptions from the machine itself, but I can from a smartphone. I have already started to work on a phone app for scanning barcodes and interfacing with the machine. Once I have the basic framework setup I will look into integrating this API into the app.
CVS Prescription API: In theory, CVS should have a a similar API to Walgreens. The documentation is sparse and after several attempts to create a developer account I finally saw an account created success screen. I did not receive an activation email nor can I login with the account I created. FAIL!!! CVS I guess does not have their act together and I will not be pursuing this API any further for now.
eMC: In Europe they have things figured out! There is an online database that has standardized information about every drug available in the EU (thanks for the tip IT-Wizard). The electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) is an easily searchable database of drugs that supposedly can be searched via barcode. I have been able to search by drug name but not barcode. I also can't find an API that will allow me to access this information from my cloud server etc.
I think what this survey shows is that there is a lot of potential to improve the standardization of access to drug information. A new project goal (for 10+ years form now): create an open-access drug database with API for the world that includes information such as:
- Drug facts
- Drug interactions (with other drugs)
- Recommended dosage information (to compare with doctor's prescription)
- Every drug will have a unique ID number
I think eMC is a good place to start but the differences in American vs. EU health care systems will pose a challenge.
Near term goals:
- Integrate Walgreens API into smartphone app in interface with machine
- Dig deeper into eMC to see if there is an easy way to extract drug info. Perhaps using curl scripts.