While an event is defined as “something that happens”, a common event processing scenario is detecting when something fails to happen. In this scenario, a failure event is generated based on the absence of “thing happened” events.
For us geeks, a common usage is the systems heartbeat. A system is designed to emit heartbeat events at a specific interval. If the event processor doesn’t receive the heartbeat event in the specified interval, a failure event is generated. The failure event is then processed, which typically includes notification actions.
This week’s Wall Street Journal has an article entitled Beep! It’s Your Medicine Nagging You. The article highlights pharmaceutical advances, in packaging and ingestible chips, that monitor pill taking, and absence of pill taking, events. The majority of the piece is dedicated to Express Scripts’ new GlowCap:
“Express Scripts Inc., the big St. Louis pharmacy-benefit manager, is about to test an electronic pill container that issues a series of increasingly insistent reminders, in a national study among patient members.
The container—actually a high-tech top for a standard pill bottle called a "GlowCap"—is equipped with a wireless transmitter that plugs into the wall. When it is time for a dose of medicine, the GlowCap emits a pulsing orange light; after an hour, the gadget starts beeping every five minutes, in arpeggios that become more complicated and insistent. After that, the device can set off an automated telephone or text message reminder to patients who fail to take their pills. It also can generate email or letters reporting to a family member or doctor how often the medication is taken.
It is one of the high-tech ways companies are grappling with medicine noncompliance. Only about half of patients who are prescribed a medication for a chronic condition are still taking the drug regularly after a year, says Daniel Touchette, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.”
“In about a month, Express Scripts will start a small test of the GlowCap, made by Vitality Inc., a Cambridge, Mass., maker of high-tech health packaging. Express plans a larger trial focused on drugs for cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure this summer.
Bob Nease, Express Scripts’ chief scientist, says the goal is to see if the gadget improves pill-taking, and also to use detailed information that the device beams wirelessly to learn more about how and why patients take—or fail to take—medication. "It is an outstanding instrument" for tracking such information, he says.
Patients using the GlowCap get reminder calls only if they opt to do so. They can opt out of having doctors and family members receive email updates. One issue the study will address is whether the device raises patients’ privacy concerns, Dr. Nease says. Dr. Nease declined to comment on the study’s cost or size. Participants won’t have to pay for the devices, which sell online for around $100.”
Of course, just like when that on-call pager beeps, not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of chirping, and tattling, pill bottles:
“Some patients won’t welcome the idea of having their daily medication monitored. Vera Karger, a retired Monroe, Conn., speech pathologist, says she wouldn’t mind the lights and noises, but emails to her doctor or family would "make me feel inept, or like I was being regarded as a child."”
However, for patients who don’t, or can’t remember their pill taking, this real-world application of event processing sounds like a good idea.