WO2017176871A1 - Systems, methods, and devices for real-time tracking, monitoring, and control using data storage tags - Google Patents

Systems, methods, and devices for real-time tracking, monitoring, and control using data storage tags

Info

Publication number
WO2017176871A1
WO2017176871A1 PCT/US2017/026121 US2017026121W WO2017176871A1 WO 2017176871 A1 WO2017176871 A1 WO 2017176871A1 US 2017026121 W US2017026121 W US 2017026121W WO 2017176871 A1 WO2017176871 A1 WO 2017176871A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
package
mhe
data
kiosk
environmental
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2017/026121
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Ronald CRUSE
Original Assignee
Cruse Ronald
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/08Logistics, e.g. warehousing, loading, distribution or shipping; Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement or balancing against orders
    • G06Q10/087Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement, balancing against orders
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07GREGISTERING THE RECEIPT OF CASH, VALUABLES, OR TOKENS
    • G07G1/00Cash registers
    • G07G1/12Cash registers electronically operated

Abstract

A system may include a secure kiosk in communication with a server. The kiosk may receive a package into a storage compartment at the kiosk and read a tag associated with the package to determine environmental data associated with environmental conditions of the package, location data associated with a location of the package, and dispensing data associated with the package. The kiosk may, based on the environmental data, set environmental conditions of the storage compartment. The kiosk may receive a request to dispense the package that identifies a requesting party and, based on the dispensing data, determine whether the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package. In response to determining that the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package, the kiosk may dispense the package and provide to the server a notification indicating that the package has been dispensed to the requesting party.

Description

SYSTEMS, METHODS, AND DEVICES FOR REAL-TIME TRACKING, MONITORING, AND CONTROL USING DATA STORAGE TAGS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/318,952 filed April 6, 2016, the contents of which are hereby incorporated in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

[002] The delivery of goods, such as medicine and health equipment (MHE) presents unique challenges due to the far-reaching delivery requirements of MHE, including to remote areas, the sensitivities of MHE to environmental conditions, and the need for secure delivery of MHE.

[003] Many developing countries, for example in sub-Saharan Africa, lack the infrastructure necessary to safely store and reliably deliver such supplies when and where needed. This problem is particularly acute in agrarian or rural areas. Diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, among others, require timely treatment and medication in order to prevent death and contagion. For example, if an HIV patient is not adequately supplied with anti-retroviral medicine, they may develop AIDS, and if a tuberculosis patient cannot be treated, they may die. As further evidenced by the recent Ebola epidemic, it is fundamentally necessary for patients in developing countries to receive prompt medical diagnosis and care in order to prevent disease from being spread globally via modern transportations systems. Even when not lethal, undiagnosed and untreated disease may have serious consequences to both the affected individuals and society at large.

[004] Shortages of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff may prevent the timely diagnosis and treatment of disease. Even where there is adequate staffing, medical personnel may lack the supplies necessary to meet the issues at hand. Medical personnel may also lack the bandwidth necessary to accurately and routinely maintain medical records. Indeed, many medical personnel, including pharmacists, do not keep accurate records, which may be their most important job, as they are simply unable to do so given the strain on their time. 'Black books' are used in developing countries to record patient information, but seldom reflect an accurate or precise amount of supply stock, and accordingly, stock outs occur. This dilemma is further exacerbated by upstream inefficiencies at central stores or medical distribution facilities. Currently, no reliable ability to track and report medicines exists in developing countries upon transport to the distribution facilities and/or central store. Often times, key medicine and critical medical equipment have been lost, stolen, misdirected, delayed, or irretrievably damaged in transit. Moreover, there exists little transparency and/or oversight at distribution and dispensing locations. As a consequence, loss, theft, and spoilage at the distribution facilities and/or central store results in regularly occurring stock outs and associated widespread proliferation of untreated disease. Moreover, many if not all African countries protect the existing distribution and dispensing system as there is tremendous ability for employment (and corrupt money making) interests to protect, underscoring the inherently political nature of the existing distribution and dispensing dilemma.

[005] International relief organizations have attempted to mitigate this problem, for example, by soliciting donations of MHE according to a 'push theory,' whereby an organization supplies distribution facilities and/or central store in a given area with more stock than is foreseeably required. While well-intentioned, excess stock may result in higher storage costs, and typically, more theft and loss of goods. In contrast to a 'push theory,' a 'pull theory,' as advocated and proposed by some organizations, proposes an increase in 'technical' personnel and oversight at the distribution facilities and/or central store. While also well-intentioned, excess human capital may result in higher employment costs and lower expenditures on stock, resulting in a higher stock out probability. Moreover, when and if stock is low, an existing inability to transport replacement stock to a distribution or dispensing location quickly may also contribute to a higher stock out probability.

[006] These problems can be significantly mitigated by improved mechanisms for tracking, transporting, and delivering medical supplies. Access to more timely information regarding the status of medical shipments would enable medical personnel to improve medical care and the delivery of medical services. More precise knowledge regarding the location and status of a medical shipment would allow medical personnel to plan for contingencies in the event of delayed, destroyed, or lost shipments. Indeed, problems in the supply chain would become evident by omission of shipped items. In addition, access to data and metadata related to transit and storage conditions during shipment would obviate the need for 'black books' and enable medical personnel to intervene with the shippers or plan for, e.g., the replacement, rehabilitation, or expedited use of medicine that has had its shelf life shortened due to sub-optimal storage conditions. Accordingly, stock outs may be avoided.

[007] Current international shipping and tracking mechanisms (e.g., as employed by FedEx, UPS, and USPS) rely on bar codes or other shipping indicia that enable tracking of a shipped package. However, such shipping networks are typically ill-equipped to provide real-time tracking of MHE even during far-reaching deliveries, such as those to remote areas. Moreover, while MHE requires careful monitoring of environmental conditions, current shipping and tracking mechanisms are not adapted to ensure consistent environmental conditions for MHE during shipment and/or to detect, during or following a shipment, when such environmental conditions have not been maintained. Lastly, current shipping and tracking mechanisms provide no mechanism to control the dispensing of MHE following shipment. These problems as well as others are addressed in various embodiments of the present disclosure. SUMMARY

[008] One aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a system for secure distribution of packages, such as medicine and/or health equipment (MHE). The system may include a kiosk in communication with a server. The kiosk may include a processor and a memory containing instructions executable by the processor to receive a package into a storage compartment at the kiosk; read a tag associated with the package and, based on the tag, determine (i) an inventory control identifier that uniquely identifies the package, (ii) environmental data associated with environmental conditions of the package, (iii) location data associated with a location of the package, and(iv) dispensing data associated with the package; provide to the server a first notification comprising the inventory control identifier, the environmental data, and the location data to the server; based on the environmental data, set environmental conditions of the storage compartment; receive a request to dispense the package, wherein the request identifies a requesting party; based on the dispensing data, determine whether the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party; and in response to determining that the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party, dispense the package to the requesting party and provide to the server a second notification comprising the inventory control identifier and an indication that the package has been dispensed to the requesting party.

[009] Another aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a method for secure distribution of packages, such as MHE. The method may include receiving a package into a storage compartment at a kiosk; reading a tag associated with the package and, based on the tag, determining (i) an inventory control identifier that uniquely identifies the package, (ii) environmental data associated with environmental conditions of the package, (iii) location data associated with a location of the package, and(iv) dispensing data associated with the package; providing to a server a first notification comprising the inventory control identifier, the environmental data, and the location data to the server; based on the environmental data, setting environmental conditions of the storage compartment; receiving a request to dispense the package, wherein the request identifies a requesting party; based on the dispensing data, determining whether the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party; and, in response to determining that the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party, dispensing the package to the requesting party and providing to the server a second notification comprising the inventory control identifier and an indication that the package has been dispensed to the requesting party.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[010] FIG. 1 illustrates an inventory management system for remote delivery of a medicine consistent with certain disclosed embodiments.

[Oi l] FIG. 2 is a plan view of a coded tag applied to medicine and health equipment consistent with certain disclosed embodiments.

[012] FIG. 3 is a side view of an exemplary representation of a remote medical distribution kiosk consistent with certain disclosed embodiments.

[013] FIG. 4 illustrates a representation of stored tag identification data consistent with certain disclosed embodiments.

[014] FIG. 5 illustrates an example flowchart representing an exemplary method for inventory management for remote delivery of a medicine consistent with certain disclosed embodiments.

[015] FIG. 6 illustrates an example flowchart representing an exemplary method for monitoring transport of medicine and capturing data consistent with certain disclosed embodiments.

[016] FIG. 7 illustrates an example collection system 700 consistent with certain disclosed embodiments. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[017] Disclosed are systems and methods for real-time tracking, monitoring, and control of MHE. The disclosed systems and methods employ a tag included in an MHE package that stores data for use in real-time tracking, monitoring, and control of the MHE package.

[018] Unlike existing shipping and tracking mechanisms, which are typically ill- equipped to provide real-time tracking of MHE even during far-reaching deliveries, such as those to remote areas, the disclosed systems and methods are configured to collect real-time location data using the tag in the MHE package during shipment and relay the collected realtime location data to a server, thereby permitting real-time tracking of the MHE package. Moreover, while current shipping and tracking mechanisms are not adapted to ensure consistent environmental conditions for MHE during shipment and/or to detect, during or following a shipment, when such environmental conditions have not been maintained, the disclosed MHE package includes sensors configured to sense real-time environmental data for the MHE package and store the real-time environmental data in the tag. Further, the disclosed systems and methods are configured to collect the real-time environmental data, along with desired environmental data, from the tag and, based on the real-time and desired environmental data, monitor the environmental conditions of the MHE package during shipment and/or detect, during or following a shipment, when such environmental conditions have not been maintained. Lastly, while current shipping and tracking mechanisms provide no mechanism to control dispensing of MHE at following shipment, the disclosed tag stores credentials for the MHE package. When a user wishes to access the MHE package, the user provides credentials to be verified against those stored in the tag, thereby preventing unauthorized access to the MHE package. These problems as well as others are addressed in various embodiments of the present disclosure. [019] FIG. 1 illustrates an inventory management system 100 for remote delivery of a medicine. System 100 may be configured to track shipments of medicine and health equipment (MHE), monitor environmental conditions of MHE during shipment, and control dispensing of MHE. While in this example the inventory management system 100 is demonstrated as based in the United States for remote delivery of medicine to areas of the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, it will be understood that other systems having other geographic distributions are possible as well.

[020] The inventory management system 100 may be implemented using a server 1 10, a base station 140, central stores 150, distribution facilities 160, and kiosks 170. While certain numbers of servers 1 10, base stations 140, central stores 150, distribution

facilities 160, and kiosks 170 are shown, it will be understood that any number of these components is possible in the inventory management system 100. Moreover, in some embodiments, the functions of the kiosks described below may be performed by personnel at traditional rural dispensaries.

[021] The server 1 10 may be one or more computing devices configured to perform operations consistent with tracking shipments of MHE in the inventory management system 100, monitoring environmental conditions of MHE in the inventory management system 100 during shipment, and/or controlling dispensing of MHE in the inventory management system 100. For example, the server 1 10 may take the form of a server, general purpose computer, mainframe computer, or any combination of these components. Other implementations consistent with disclosed embodiments are possible as well.

[022] In some embodiments, as shown, the server 1 10 may include a memory 120 and a processor 130. The memory 120 may include one or more storage devices configured to store instructions used by the processor 130 to perform functions related to disclosed embodiments. For example, the memory 120 may be configured with one or more software instructions that may perform one or more operations when executed by the processor 130. The disclosed embodiments are not limited to separate programs or computers configured to perform dedicated tasks. For example, the memory 120 may include a single program that performs the functions of the server 1 10 or multiple programs.

[023] The memory 120 may also store data that is used to perform functions related to disclosed embodiments. For example, the memory 120 may store data related to tracking shipments of MHE in the inventory management system 100, such as data indicating a desired shipment of the MHE package and/or data indicating a real-time location of an MHE package. Such desired shipment data may indicate, for example, a location to which the MHE package is to be shipped, a shipping time at and/or by which the MHE package is to be shipped, a delivery time at and/or by which the MHE package is to be delivered, a dispensing time at and/or by which the MHE package is to be dispensed, and/or an identification (e.g., name) of a technician and/or patient to whom the MHE package can be dispensed. Such desired shipment data may be, for example, predetermined for the MHE package.

[024] Such real-time location data may indicate, for example, a real-time location of the MHE package. Such real-time location data may be determined based on, for example, Global Positioning System (GPS) data received by the server 1 10 from the MHE package itself and/or another point in the inventory management system 100, such as a base station 140, a central store 150, a distribution facility 160, and/or a kiosk 170. For example, the MHE package may be configured with a GPS, and as the MHE package provides the GPS data (either directly to the server 1 10 or through another point in the inventory management system 100), the server 1 10 may track the MHE package's location. Alternatively or additionally, such real-time location data may be determined using chokepoint inventory techniques in which the MHE package is inventoried and scanned at some or all points in the inventory management system 100 (e.g., at the beginning of a shipment, at the end of a shipment, at certain legs of a shipment, etc.). When the MHE package is inventoried and scanned at a point, such as a base station 140, a central store 150, a distribution facility 160, and/or a kiosk 170, the point may provide to the server 1 10 an indication that the MHE package is located at the point. As the points provide the indications, the server 1 10 may track the MHE package's location.

[025] In some embodiments, the server 1 10 may be configured to communicate with one or more of the base station 140, the central stores 150, the distribution facilities 160, the kiosks 170, and/or the MHE package to track the MHE package. Alternatively or additionally, in some embodiments the server 1 10 may be configured to communicate with a tracking and communications system 180. The tracking and communications system 180 may be configured to track MHE packages using GPS data and/or chokepoint inventory techniques, as described above, and provide the server 1 10 with the real-time location data for MHE packages.

[026] In some embodiments, memory 120 may alternatively or additionally store data related to monitoring environmental conditions of MHE in the inventory management system 100 during shipment, such as data indicating desired environmental conditions and/or real-time environmental conditions of an MHE package. Such desired environmental conditions may include, for example, maximum, minimum, and/or desired conditions relating to temperature, humidity, vibration, ventilation, air pressure, and/or lighting for the MHE package. Such desired environmental conditions may be, for example, predetermined for the MHE package.

[027] Such real-time environmental data may include, for example, real-time conditions relating to temperature, humidity, vibration, ventilation, air pressure, and/or lighting for the MHE package. Such real-time environmental data may be determined based on, for example, environmental data received by the server 1 10 from the MHE package itself and/or another point in the inventory management system 100, such as a base station 140, a central store 150, a distribution facility 160, and/or a kiosk 170. For example, the MHE package may be configured with one or more sensors configured to sense environmental conditions of the MHE package, and as the MHE package provides the sensor data (either directly to the server 1 10 or through another point in the inventory management system 100), the server 1 10 may monitor the MHE package's environmental conditions. Alternatively or additionally, such real-time environmental data may be provided in connection with chokepoint inventory techniques, as described above. When the MHE package is inventoried and scanned at a point, such as a base station 140, a central store 150, a distribution facility 160, and/or a kiosk 170, the point may relay to the server 1 10 any sensor data collected from the MHE package at the point. As the points provide the sensor data, the server 1 10 may monitor the MHE package's environmental conditions.

[028] In some embodiments, memory 120 may alternatively or additionally store data related to controlling dispensing of MHE in the inventory management system 100, such as data indicating points (e.g., kiosks) from which an MHE package can be dispensed, users to whom the MHE package can be dispensed, and/or prescription dosages for the MHE package. Some or all of this data may alternatively or additionally be stored in the MHE package itself, as described below in connection with Figure 2.

[029] While the foregoing described data being stored in memory 120, in some embodiments, the server 1 10 may be communicatively connected to one or more

database(s) (not shown) at which some or all data may be stored. Such database(s) may be included in or located remotely from the server 1 10. Such database(s) may include one or more memory devices that store information and are accessed and/or managed through the server 1 10. By way of example, such database(s) may include Oracle™ databases, Sybase™ databases, or other relational databases or non-relational databases, such as Hadoop© sequence files, HBase™, or Cassandra™. Such database(s) may include computing components (e.g., database management system, database server, etc.) configured to receive and process requests for data stored in memory devices of the database(s) and to provide data from the database(s).

[030] As noted above, the server 1 10 may be configured to communicate with one or more of the base station 140, the central stores 1 0, the distribution facilities 160, the kiosks 170, MHE packages, the tracking and communications system 180, and/or one or more database(s). In some embodiments, the server 1 10 may be configured to provide such communication over one or more networks, such as any type of network (including infrastructure) that provides communications, exchanges information, and/or facilitates the exchange of information. Example networks and network infrastructure may include as the Internet, a Local Area Network, near field communication (NFC), optical code scanner, or other suitable connection(s) that enables the sending and receiving of information between the components of the inventory management system 100. Alternatively or additionally, the server 1 10 may communicate with one or more components of the system 100 directly through a dedicated communication link(s).

[031] In some embodiments, the server 1 10 may include, for example, one or more digital and/or analog devices that allow the server 1 10 to communicate with and/or detect the other components, such as a network controller and/or wireless adaptor for communicating over the Internet. Other implementations consistent with disclosed embodiments are possible as well.

[032] MHE may be shipped throughout the inventory management system 100 among the base station 140, the central stores 150, the distribution facilities 160, and/or the kiosks 170. The base station 140 may be, for example, an origin of MHE. In some embodiments, MHE packages originating at the base station 140 may include one or more sensors (e.g., GPS and/or environmental sensors) and/or tags storing data, as further described below in connection with Figure 2.

[033] After departing the base station 140, MHE packages may be routed to and/or through one or more central stores 150 and/or distribution facilities 150 before arriving at a kiosk 170. In some embodiments, one or more of the base station 140, central stores 150, distribution facilities 150, and kiosks 170 may be configured to determine, based on the sensors and/or tags of the MHE packages, real-time location data and/or real-time environmental data for the MHE packages and to relay the real-time location data and/or realtime environmental data to the server 1 10. To this end, one or more of the base station 140, central stores 150, distribution facilities 150, and kiosks 170 may include a reader or other device configured to determine the real-time location data and/or real-time environmental data from the sensors and/or tags.

[034] Alternatively or additionally, in some embodiments, one or more of the base station 140, central stores 150, distribution facilities 150, and kiosks 170 may be configured to modify the data stored in the tag(s) of the MHE package to indicate, for example, the MHE package's arrival at the base station 140, central store 150, distribution facility 150, and/or kiosk 170. To this end, one or more of the base station 140, central stores 150, distribution facilities 150, and kiosks 170 may be configured with software configured to write modifications to the data stored in the tags.

[035] In some embodiments, the server 1 10 may be co-located with one or more of the base station 140, central stores 150, distribution facilities 150, and kiosks 170. As shown, the kiosks 170 may be located in one or more areas remote from the server 1 10 and the base station 140. In some embodiments, the functions of the server 1 10 and the base station 140 may be incorporated into one or more of the kiosks 170. [036] In some embodiments, the base station 140 and kiosks 170 may be arranged in a hub-and-spoke communications system. Alternatively, the base station 140 may communicate with one of the kiosks 170 that acts as a local hub, or the kiosks may communicate with each other in series. The base station and/or kiosks 170 may also communicate with the distribution facilities 160 and/or central store 150.

[037] FIG. 2 shows a package of medicine and/or health equipment (MHE package) 200 (in the illustrated embodiment, a blister package of pills) having a tag 210 attached thereto. Tag 210 may be alternatively applied to other types of supplies (such as liquid medicines, medical devices, surgical devices, etc.) and packaging (such as bottles, boxes, bags, etc.). A single tag 210 may be attached to an entire package or may be attached as shown to discrete components or individual dosages within a package. While only one tag 210 is shown, in some embodiments more than one tag may be included in MHE 200.

[038] The tag 210 may be configured to store data for the MHE package 200. For example, the tag 210 may store data indicating a desired shipment of the MHE package 200, data indicating a real-time location of the MHE package 200, data indicating desired environmental conditions for the MHE package 200, and/or data indicating real-time environmental conditions of the MHE package 200, as described above. Other data are possible as well.

[039] In some embodiments, tag 210 may be implemented using a barcode (such as a linear barcode or matrix barcode), a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag, a Near Field Communications (NFC) tag (such as a passive reader active NFC tag, active reader passive NFC tag, and an active reader active NFC tag), QR code, EPC code, etc. In one embodiment, tag 210 may be implemented using an active QR code or active barcode display that may dynamically display the code on display, such as a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). [040] In some embodiments, tag 210 may include a GPS chip to allow tracking of the MHE package 200. Alternatively, a GPS chip may be included in the MHE package 200 outside of tag 210. The GPS chip may be configured to determine real-time location data indicating a location of the MHE package 200. In some embodiments, the MHE package 200 may determine the real-time location data continuously, periodically, randomly, as-needed, or on another schedule. As the real-time location data is sensed, the MHE package 200 may provide the real-time location data to one or more of the server 1 10, the tracking and communications system 180, and/or any of the base station 140, central stores 150, distribution facilities 160, and kiosks 170. In some embodiments, the MHE package 200 may provide the real-time location data continuously, periodically, randomly, as-needed, as- requested, or on another schedule. In some embodiments, movement of the MHE package may be tracked using chokepoint inventory control methods, as described above. In these embodiments, no GPS chip may be included in the MHE package 200, and the MHE package 200 may be tracked based on real-time location data provided by points in the inventory management system 100, such as the base station 140, the central stores 150, the distribution facilities 160, the kiosks 170. In some embodiments, where the MHE package 200 does not include a GPS chip, some or all points in the inventory management system 100 that determine a real-time location of the MHE package 200 may be configured with software to write the real-time location data to the tag 210, such that the MHE package 200 stores a record of its own real-time location data.

[041] In some embodiments, tag 210 may further include one or more sensors configured to track environmental conditions of the MHE package 200. Alternatively, the sensor(s) may be included in the MHE package 200 outside of the tag 210. In some cases, every MHE package 200 may include sensor(s), while in others such sensor(s) may be placed in representative MHE packages within a larger shipment. [042] The sensor(s) may be configured to sense real-time environmental conditions of the MHE package 200, such as real-time conditions relating to temperature, humidity, vibration, ventilation, air pressure, and/or lighting for the MHE package. The sensor(s) may be any sensor configured to sense such real-time conditions including, but not limited to, thermometers, thermistors, thermocouples, integrated circuit sensors, dew sensors, moisture sensors, piezoelectric sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, motion sensor, gas detection sensors, piezo-resistive sensors, capacitive sensors, electromagnetic sensors, optical sensors, electro-optical sensors, potentiometric sensors, and/or resonant sensors.

[043] In some embodiments, the MHE package 200 may sense the real-time environmental conditions continuously, periodically, randomly, as-needed, or on another schedule. As the real-time environmental data is sensed, the MHE package 200 may be configured to store and/or process data indicative of sensed environmental conditions. For example, based on sensed environmental conditions, MHE package 200 may store in tag 210 real-time environmental data.

[044] When MHE package 200 arrives at a point in the inventory management system 100, such as a base station 140, a central store 150, a distribution facility 160, and/or a kiosk 170, data stored in the tag 210 may be read from the tag 210. For example, in embodiments where the tag 210 is a bar code, the data may be read from the tag 210 using a bar code reader. As another example, in embodiments where the tag 210 is an RFID tag, the data may be read from the tag 201 using an RFID reader. Other examples are possible as well.

[045] Data read from the tag 210 may include, for example, data indicating a desired shipment of the MHE package 200, data indicating a real-time location of the MHE package 200, data indicating desired environmental conditions for the MHE package 200, and/or data indicating real-time environmental conditions of the MHE package 200, as described above. Other data are possible as well.

[046] When shipped, the MHE package 200 may be destined for a kiosk, such as one of the kiosks 170 of the inventory management system 100. An exemplary kiosk 300 is shown in FIG. 3. While the kiosk is shown as a stand-alone device, the kiosk 300 may take other forms. In some embodiments, for example, kiosk 300 may be incorporated into a vehicle or other device (not shown) or otherwise be made portable.

[047] When the MHE package 200 arrives at the kiosk 300, the kiosk 300 may read data from tag 210 of the MHE package 200. To this end, kiosk 300 may be equipped with a tag reader, such as a bar code reader, RFID reader, etc., as described above. In some embodiments, the data may be restricted and/or compartmentalized so that some or all of the data may be encrypted or otherwise made readable only by authorized devices. In addition, the data may be made writable by only authorized devices (e.g., particular points in the inventory management system 100) so as to prevent counterfeiting of the data .

[048] For example, the kiosk 300 may read form the tag 210 data indicating a desired shipment of the MHE package 200, data indicating a real-time location of the MHE package 200, data indicating desired environmental conditions for the MHE package 200, and/or data indicating real-time environmental conditions of the MHE package 200, as described above. Example data 400 read from a data tag 210 by kiosk 300 is shown in FIG. 4.

[049] As shown in FIG. 4, for example, the data 400 may include data identifying the medical product 410, such as a name, brand, manufacturer, origin, lot number, chemical composition, and/or expiration date of the medicine or health equipment contained in the MHE package 200. [050] As another example, the data 400 may include data indicating a desired shipment of the MHE package 200, such as a location 412 to which the MHE package 200 is to be shipped (e.g., a geographic location such as a town or country, a point in the inventory management system 100 such as the kiosk 300, a central store 150, or a distribution facility 170, and/or a carrier such as a company, vehicle, and/or driver, etc.), a shipping time 414 at and/or by which the MHE package 200 is to be shipped, a delivery time 416 at and/or by which the MHE package 200 is to be delivered, and/or a dispensing time 418 at and/or by which the MHE package 200 is to be dispensed.

[051] Returning to FIG. 3, in some embodiments, upon receiving the MHE package 200 and reading the location 412, shipping time 414, delivery time 416, and/or dispensing time 418 from the tag 210, the kiosk 300 may verify that the shipment of the MHE package 200 was as desired. For example, the kiosk 300 may determine whether the MHE package 200 has arrived at the desired location 412, was shipped by the desired shipping time 414, has arrived by the desired delivery time 416, and/or will be dispensed and/or available to be dispensed by the desired dispensing time 418. In some embodiments, where the shipment is not as desired in one or more respects, the kiosk 300 may alert the server 1 10, destroy the MHE package 200, and/or otherwise prevent the MHE package 200 from being dispensed.

[052] Returning to FIG. 4, as still another example, the data 400 may include data indicating a technician name 420 and/or patient name 422 identifying a technician and/or patient to whom the MHE package 200 may be dispensed. In some embodiments, the technician name 420 and/or patient name 422 may be a name or other unique or semi-unique identifier of the technician and/or patient. Alternatively or additionally, the technician name 420 and/or patient name 422 may be credentials associated with the technician and/or patient, such as a unique or semi-unique identifier, a username, a password, passcode, or access code, biometric data, etc. Other credentials are possible as well. Returning to FIG. 3, a user 320 may approach the kiosk 300 to obtain the MHE package 200. User 320 may be, for example, a medical professional, patient, or other user. User 320 may operate kiosk 300 by presenting credentials, such as any of the credentials described above. User 320 may present the credentials by, for example, by inserting an access card, presenting an identification tag (similar to tag 210) to a reader 340, or entering a corresponding code into an appropriate user interface 350. For example, reader 340 may be a bar code reader, a QR code reader, an RFID or NFC reader, biometric reader, etc., so as to allow access by the bearer of the corresponding code, tag, fingerprint, etc. User interface 350 may include, e.g., an alphanumeric keypad or a touch screen to allow entry of an appropriate access code. Upon presentation of the credentials, the kiosk 300 may verify the credentials provided by the user 320. For example, the kiosk 300 may compared the credentials provided by the use 320 to the credentials read from the MHE package 200 to determine whether the credentials match. If so, the kiosk 300 may dispense or otherwise grant access to the MHE package 200 associated with the credentials. If not, the kiosk 300 may deny dispending or otherwise granting access to the MHE package 200. In some embodiments, the kiosk 300 may specifically be designed so that prescription dosages are read and followed as they are dispensed to the user 320. In some embodiments, as shown, the kiosk 300 may dispense the MHE package 200 via an automated dispensing system 360. Alternatively or additionally, the kiosk 300 may unlock and/or open a door to allow access to a compartment housing the MHE package 200 intended for the user 320. Other configurations of the kiosk 300 are possible as well.

[053] Returning to FIG. 4, as yet another example, the data 400 may include data indicating a delivery status 424 of the MHE package 200, such as whether or not the MHE package 200 has been delivered to the desired location 412 and/or by whom, how, and/or at what time the MHE package 200 was delivered to the desired location 412. Other data are possible as well. In some embodiments, upon delivery of the MHE package 200 to the kiosk 300, the kiosk 300 may update the delivery status 424 to reflect the delivery. As still another example, the data 400 may include data indicating desired environmental conditions for the MHE package 200, such as a desired temperature 426, humidity 428, vibration 430, ventilation 432, air pressure 434, and/or lighting conditions 436 for the MHE package 200.

[054] In some embodiments, upon receiving the MHE package 200 and reading the data indicating the desired environmental conditions, the kiosk 300 may store the MHE package 200 in the kiosk 300 in accordance with the desired environmental conditions indicated by the data. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, the kiosk 300 may include an environmental control system 380 configured to maintain environmental conditions of storage spaces within kiosk 300 within levels appropriate to the particular supplies stored therein. Kiosk 300 may read data regarding the appropriate environmental conditions from tag 210 and control the environmental conditions accordingly. For example, where the environmental conditions indicate a minimum and maximum temperature for the MHE package 200, the environmental control system 380 may be configured to maintain a temperature of the storage space in which the MHE package 200 is stored to a temperature between the minimum and maximum temperatures. Where the kiosk 300 stores multiple MHE packages, storage spaces for each MHE package may be controlled by the environmental control system 380 according to the respective environmental conditions of the MHE packages and/or may be controlled together to meet environmental conditions for all of the MHE packages.

[055] Returning to FIG. 3, in some embodiments, such as those where kiosk 300 exists outside or remote from a distribution facility 160 or other point in the inventory management system 100, solar power may be used to provide power to kiosk 300. For example, photovoltaic panels 330 may be placed on the top of the medical distribution kiosk 300 in order collect solar energy to charge batteries (not shown) that may provide power to electrical functions of kiosk 300, including, e.g., reader 340, user interface 350, dispensing system 360, lighting system 370, and/or an environmental control system 380. Kiosk 300 may be provided with additional or alternative sources of power, such as three-phase wiring, a generator, etc. Settings of reader 340, user interface 350, dispensing system 360, lighting system 370, and/or an environmental control system 380 may be remotely programmed via tracking and communications system 180. Alternatively, such settings may be locally set at kiosk 300, e.g., based on data in tag 210, as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, kiosk 300 is shown storing a single type of item (blister-packed medicine). However, kiosk 300 may store multiple types of medicines, health equipment, and/or medical devices. In some embodiments, kiosk 300 may be equipped with multiple compartments for separately storing different types of MHE in appropriate environmental conditions. In some embodiments, each user (e.g., patient, technician, pharmacist, or medical professional) in a service area of the kiosk may be granted exclusive access to one or more compartments.

[056] FIG. 5 illustrates an example flowchart representing a method 500 for inventory management for remote delivery of medicine and/or health equipment 200. While the exemplary method is described herein as a series of steps, it is to be understood that the order of the steps may vary in other implementations. In particular, non-dependent steps may be performed in any order, or in parallel.

[057] At step 510, the process 500 may include placing a tag 210 on the MHE package 200 or its packaging, and storing data and/or metadata 400 associated with the tag. As described above, the data 400 may be stored in memory 120 at the server 1 10 or kiosk 300, or within the tag 210 itself. Data may include any of the types of data described above in connection with FIG. 4. [058] At step 520, the process 500 may include tracking a shipment including the MHE package 200 based on the tag 210. For example, the server 1 10 and/or the tracking and communications system 180 may track a real-time location of a package or shipment including the MHE package 200 using GPS data and/or chokepoint inventorying techniques, as described above. In addition to tracking a real-time location of the MHE package 200, the data 400 stored in the tag 210 may allow for tracking of other real-time and non-real-time data associated with the MHE package 200, including real-time environmental data, information identifying the medical product 410, location 412, shipping time 414, delivery time 416, dispensing time 418, technician name 420, patient name 422, and/or the delivery status 424 of the MHE package 200, as described above.

[059] Data associated with the MHE package 200 may be tracked, captured, and/or updated each time the tag 210 is inventoried and scanned packages at a point in the inventory management system 100, as described above. For example, when the MHE package 200 is delivered to a point, the tag 210 may be scanned by a reader, and the point may provide some or all of the data stored in the tag 210 to the server 1 10 and/or tracking and communications system 180. MHE package 200 and tag 210 may be similarly scanned (and the data provided to the server 1 10 and/or tracking and communications system 180) upon distribution from a point (e.g., a customer store 150), onto a transport vehicle, such as a truck, upon receipt into another point (e.g., a distribution center 170), and/or upon loading into a kiosk 170.

Information captured and/or scanned by the reader may be shared with the server 1 10 and/or tracking and communications system 180.

[060] At step 530, the process 500 may include monitoring the MHE package 200 once delivered and loaded into the kiosk 170, as described above. For example, the tag 210 storing data 400 may allow for monitoring of environmental conditions for delivered MHE packages stored in the kiosk 170. For example, the kiosk 170 may determine, based on the data 400, whether the shipment was as desired with regards to, for instance, temperature 426, humidity 428, vibration 430, ventilation 432, air pressure 434, and/or lighting conditions 436. For example, the kiosk 170 may compare monitored environmental conditions, as indicated by the data 400, with desired environmental conditions (e.g., acceptable minimum and/or maximum conditions) as indicated by the data 400 and flag any discrepancies. For example, the acceptable minimum and/or maximum conditions may be stored in tag 210 along with a record of the minimum and/or maximum sensed conditions. Discrepancies between the acceptable conditions and the actual conditions experienced by the MHE package 200 during shipment may be determined when the tag 210 is read during shipment, e.g., during a chokepoint inventory control check and/or at the time that the MHE package 200 is placed within kiosk 170 for dispensing. Flagging a discrepancy may involve, for example, alerting the server 1 10, destroying the MHE package 200, and/or otherwise preventing the MHE package 200 from being dispensed.

[061] At step 540, process 500 may include adjusting the storage conditions of the MHE package 200. For example, environmental control system 380 may adjust the storage conditions under which the MHE package 200 is maintained within the kiosk 300 to fall within the desired conditions applicable to the MHE package 400, as described above. For example, environmental control system 380 may adjust one or more of the storage temperature 426, humidity 428, vibration 430, ventilation 432, air pressure 434, and/or lighting conditions 436. In some embodiments, environmental control system 380 may adjust the storage conditions for an individual compartment in which the MHE package 200 is stored. Where kiosk 300 includes only a single compartment, environmental control system 380 may adjust the conditions of the single compartment to fall within the maximum and minimum acceptable for each MHE package 200 stored in the compartment. [062] At step 550, process 500 includes dispensing a medicine in response to a request for medicine by a patient or related medical official. A kiosk 300 may specifically be designed so that prescription dosages are read as they are dispensed to a patient. As described above, for example, a medical professional or other user 320 may present credentials, e.g., by inserting an access card having a patient identifier, presenting an identification tag to reader 340, or entering a corresponding code into an appropriate user interface 350. Upon presentation of the tag or code, kiosk 300 may dispense or otherwise grant access to the MHE package 200 associated with the credentials. In the illustrated embodiment, kiosk 300 may dispense the MHE package 200 via automated dispensing system 360. Alternatively, kiosk 300 may unlock and/or open a door to allow access to a compartment housing the MHE package 200 intended for the user 320.

[063] At step 560, kiosk 300 may provide a notification that the MHE package 200 has been dispensed, e.g., by sending an electronic notification to server 1 10 via tracking and communication system 180. Server 1 10 may then update records in memory 120 to indicate that the MHE package 200 has been dispensed.

[064] FIG. 6 illustrates an example flowchart representing an exemplary method for monitoring transport of medicine and capturing data consistent with certain disclosed embodiments. While the exemplary method is described herein as a series of steps, it is to be understood that the order of the steps may vary in other implementations. In particular, non- dependent steps may be performed in any order, or in parallel.

[065] At step 610, the process 600 may include precoding individual dosages of MHE into MHE package 200 as illustrated in FIG. 2. The MHE package 200 200 may be precoded at a manufacturing site (not shown) or, alternatively, as the individual doses of MHE package 200 are shipped from the manufacturing site. [066] At step 620, the process 600 may include imprinting data related to MHE package 200. This data may include, for example, the medical product 410 medicine information, shelf life, lot number, country of destination, and/or time of packaging. The data may also include information identifying the medical product 410, location 412, shipping time 414, delivery time 416, dispensing time 418, technician name 420, patient name 422, and/or the delivery status 424 of the MHE package 200, as described above.

[067] At step 630, the process 600 may include scanning the MHE package 200 at a central store 150 and subsequently onto a truck for transport to a distribution facility 160. Readers may scan the data 400 included in the data tag 210 of the MHE package 200 and compare the data to existing shipment levels. Readers may also add and/or update data to an existing central store 150 inventory. Such scanning of the MHE package 200 may help to mitigate inventory discrepancies at the central store 150.

[068] At step 640, the process 600 may include scanning the MHE package 200 off a truck and subsequently scanning and loading the MHE package 200 into a kiosk 170, as illustrated in FIG. 1. The kiosk 170 may be located off-site (e.g., nearby a distribution facility 160) or on-site (not shown) at a distribution facility 160. Readers may also add and/or update data to an existing distribution facility 160 inventory. Such scanning of the MHE package 200 may help to mitigate inventory discrepancies at the distribution facility.

[069] At step 650, the process 600 may include reading (e.g., scanning) prescription dosages of the MHE package 200 as they are dispensed from the kiosk 300. The kiosk 300 may specifically be designed so that prescription dosages of the MHE package 200 are read as they are dispensed to a patient.

[070] At step 660, the process 600 may include software that captures encoded MHE data. For example, the kiosk 300 may capture data from the MHE package 200 and/or user 320 when the MHE package 200 is dispensed. A pharmacist, or medical personnel, may insert an access card having a patient identifier, presenting an identification tag to reader 340, or enter a corresponding code into an appropriate user interface 350. The software may then capture, for example, a pharmacist name, patient name, time, and dispensary. This software may also send an electronic notification to server 1 10 and/or tracking and communication system 180. Server 1 10 may then update records in memory 120 to account for captured encoded data.

[071] FIG. 7 illustrates an example collection system 700 consistent with certain disclosed embodiments. As shown, the collection system 700 includes a number of kiosks 300A, 300B, and 300C, a number of country collection centers 702A and 702B, and a universal collection center 704. Each of the kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C may be similar to any of the kiosks 300 described above. Each country collection center 702A, 702B may be communicatively coupled to one or more kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C, such as all of the kiosks within a geographic location, such as a town or country, a point in the inventory management system 100, a region surrounding a central store 150 or distribution facility 170, and/or an area served by a particular carrier such as a company, vehicle, and/or driver, etc. The universal collection center 704 may be communicatively coupled to each country collection center 702A, 702B. In some embodiments, communicative coupling may rely on one or more of cellular communications, wireless communications (e.g., wi-fi), network

communications, Internet and/or Intranet communications, and/or satellite communications. In some embodiments, as described above, kiosks 300 A, 300B, 300C may include a power source, such as solar panels, to facilitate communication. To conserve available power, communications may be carried out using low bit-rate and/or low-power communications techniques.

[072] Country collection centers 702A, 702B and/or universal collection center 704 may be powered through solar power or other power. Other communicative coupling is possible as well. While only one universal collection center 704 and certain numbers of country collection centers 702A, 702B, and kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C are shown, it will be understood that more or fewer universal collection centers, country collection centers, and/or kiosks are possible as well.

[073] In some embodiments, each of kiosks 300A, 300B, and 300C may be configured to provide to a country collection center 704A or 704B a periodic activity log indicating activity at the kiosk. Activity at the kiosk may include, for example, the receipt and/or dispensing of MHE packages. In some embodiments, an activity log may indicate any of the data 400 described above, such as, for example, an inventory of MHE packages at the kiosk, a record of patients and/or technicians to whom MHE packages were dispensed, when such dispensing took place, etc. For instance, for each MHE package, an activity log may indicate when the MHE package arrived at the kiosk, a patient or technician to whom the MHE package was dispensed, a time and date at which the MHE package was dispensed, an expiration date for the MHE package, and/or additional data associated with the MHE package and/or the patient or technician.

[074] For example, as shown, kiosk 300A may be configured to provide to country collection center 702A a periodic activity log indicating activity at kiosk 300A. Similarly, kiosk 300B may be configured to provide to country collection center 702A a periodic activity log indicating activity at kiosk 300B. And kiosk 300C may be configured to provide to country collection center 702B a periodic activity log indicating activity at kiosk 300C. A periodic activity log may describe, for example, activity for a predetermined period of time, such as a number of minutes, hours, a day, a week, etc. In some embodiments, kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C may be configured to provide near-real-time transmission of the activity logs, such as transmission at or near the end of the period of time, and/or transmission on-demand of a country collection center. [075] Each country collection center 702A, 702B may be configured to determine, based on the received activity logs, how MHE packages should be distributed among the kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C in its geographic area. For example, if activity logs received from kiosk 300A indicate that kiosk 300A has a surplus of certain medication, country collection center 702A may determine that some MHE packages of the medication should be diverted to kiosk 300B and/or held at a central store or distribution facility. As another example, if activity logs received from kiosk 300C indicate that kiosk 300C is running short of certain medical equipment, country collection center 702B may determine that additional medical equipment should be ordered for and routed to kiosk 300C. In general, country collection centers 702A, 702B may be configured to control inventory levels at kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C based on the activity logs received from the kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C.

[076] Country collection centers 702A, 702B may be further configured to provide the activity logs and/or data derived from the activity logs to universal collection center 704. For example, country collection centers 702A, 702B may provide the activity logs and/or data derived from the activity logs periodically (e.g., according to the same or a different period of time than the kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C provide the activity logs), in near-real-time, and/or on-demand of the universal collection center 704.

[077] Universal collection center 704 may be configured to determine, based on the received activity logs and/or data derived from the activity logs, which MHE packages and/or how many MHE packages should be ordered for routing to the kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C. For example, if activity logs from both country collection centers 702A, 702B indicate that inventories of a certain medicine are decreasing at kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C, universal collection center 704 may place a bulk order for the medicine for routing to kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C. In general, universal collection center 704 may be configured to aggregate data gathered from the country collection centers 702A, 702B to provide a universal picture of inventories at kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C. Based on the aggregated data, universal collection center 704 may determine which MHE packages have been dispensed, which MHE packages need to be restocked, which MHE packages have gone missing and/or expired, etc. For example, universal collection center 704 may provide a periodic reconciliation (e.g., daily) of MHE packages at each of kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C. This would allow the identification of kiosks or rural dispensaries with low inventory, soon-to-expire inventory, or unexpectedly- high inventory consumption (potentially indicating an outbreak).

[078] The frequent reporting of MHE inventory on a district, national, regional, and even worldwide basis would allow for more accurate forecasting of inventory needs and the as-needed redirection of inventory in the supply chain to prevent local stockouts of desperately needed MHE. Based on the aggregated data, universal collection center 704 may be configured for bulk ordering of and/or forecasting need for MHE packages and distribution of the MHE packages among kiosks to maintain certain inventory levels. In this manner, universal collection center 704 can provide a near-real-time inventory of MHE packages at kiosks 300A, 300B, 300C, thereby identifying potential loss, theft, or misdirection of MHE and minimizing the risk that MHE packages will be unavailable and/or will expire at the kiosks.

[079] While the invention has been shown and described with reference to particular embodiments thereof, it will be understood that the invention can be practiced, without modification, in other environments, including in urban and developed environments.

Further, the invention is not limited to particular medicines, medical devices, or medical equipment. The foregoing description has been presented for purposes of illustration. It is not exhaustive and is not limited to the precise forms or embodiments disclosed.

Modifications and adaptations will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the disclosed embodiments. Additionally, although aspects of the disclosed embodiments are described as being stored in memory, one skilled in the art will appreciate that these aspects can also be stored on other types of computer readable media, such as secondary storage devices, for example, hard disks or CD ROM, or other forms of RAM or ROM, USB media, DVD, Blu-ray, or other optical drive media.

[080] Computer and precoding programs based on the written description and disclosed methods are within the skill of an experienced developer. The various programs or program modules can be created using any of the techniques known to one skilled in the art or can be designed in connection with existing software. For example, program sections or program modules can be designed in or by means of .Net Framework, .Net Compact Framework (and related languages, such as Visual Basic, C, etc.), Java, C++, Objective-C, HTML, HTML/ AJ AX combinations, XML, or HTML with included Java applets.

[081] Moreover, while illustrative embodiments have been described herein, the scope of any and all embodiments having equivalent elements, modifications, omissions, combinations (e.g., of aspects across various embodiments), adaptations and/or alterations as would be appreciated by those skilled in the art based on the present disclosure. The limitations in the claims are to be interpreted broadly based on the language employed in the claims and not limited to examples described in the present specification or during the prosecution of the application. The examples are to be construed as non-exclusive.

Furthermore, the steps of the disclosed methods may be modified in any manner, including by reordering steps and/or inserting or deleting steps. It is intended, therefore, that the specification and examples be considered as illustrative only, with a true scope and spirit being indicated by the following claims and their full scope of equivalents.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS;
1 . A system comprising:
a kiosk in communication with a server, wherein the kiosk comprises a processor and a memory containing instructions executable by the processor to: receive a package into a storage compartment at the kiosk;
read a tag associated with the package and, based on the tag, determine (i) an inventory control identifier that uniquely identifies the package, (ii) environmental data associated with environmental conditions of the package, (Hi) location data associated with a location of the package, and(iv) dispensing data associated with the package;
provide to the server a first notification comprising the inventory control identifier, the environmental data, and the location data to the server; based on the environmental data, set environmental conditions of the storage compartment;
receive a request to dispense the package, wherein the request identifies a requesting party;
based on the dispensing data, determine whether the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party; and in response to determining that the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party, dispense the package to the requesting party and provide to the server a second notification comprising the inventory control identifier and an indication that the package has been dispensed to the requesting party.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the tag comprises at least one of an active or passive barcode, a linear barcode, a matrix barcode, an active or passive Quick Response code, a Radio Frequency Identification tag, a passive reader active near-field communication (NFC) tag, an active reader passive NFC tag, and an active reader active NFC tag.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein at least one of the inventory control identifier, the environmental data, the location data, and the dispensing data is encrypted in the tag.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the package is associated with a plurality of sensors configured to determine the environmental data.
5. The system of claim 1 , wherein the environmental conditions include at least one of temperature, humidity, ventilation, vibration, air pressure, and lighting conditions affecting the package.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein the package is associated with a global positioning system device configured to determine the location data.
7. The system of claim 1, wherein the location information indicates at least one central store or distribution facility through which the package was shipped.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the tag stores information indicating at least one of a description of the package, an origin of the package and an intended destination of the package.
9. The system of claim 1 , wherein the instructions at the kiosk are further executable by the processor to:
in response to determining that the kiosk is not authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party, alert the server.
10. The system of claim 1, wherein providing to the server the first notification comprises providing the first notification to the server in response to reading the tag.
1 1. The system of claim 1 , wherein providing to the server the first notification comprises providing the first notification to the server according to a predetermined schedule.
12. A method comprising:
receiving a package into a storage compartment at a kiosk,
reading a tag associated with the package and, based on the tag, determining (i) an inventory control identifier that uniquely identifies the package, (ii) environmental data associated with environmental conditions of the package, (iii) location data associated with a location of the package, and(iv) dispensing data associated with the package;
providing to a server a first notification comprising the inventory control identifier, the environmental data, and the location data to the server;
based on the environmental data, setting environmental conditions of the storage compartment;
receiving a request to dispense the package, wherein the request identifies a
requesting party; based on the dispensing data, determining whether the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party; and
in response to determining that the kiosk is authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party, dispensing the package to the requesting party and providing to the server a second notification comprising the inventory control identifier and an indication that the package has been dispensed to the requesting party.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein at least one of the inventory control identifier, the environmental data, the location data, and the dispensing data is encrypted in the tag.
14. The method of claim 12, wherein the package is associated with a plurality of sensors configured to determine the environmental data.
15. The method of claim 12, wherein the environmental conditions include at least one of temperature, humidity, ventilation, vibration, air pressure, and lighting conditions affecting the package.
16. The method of claim 12, wherein the package is associated with a global positioning system device configured to determine the location data.
17. The method of claim 12, wherein the location information indicates at least one
central store or distribution facility through which the package was shipped.
18. The method of claim 12, further comprising: in response to determining that the kiosk is not authorized to dispense the package to the requesting party, alerting the server.
19. The method of claim 12, wherein providing to the server the first notification
comprises providing the first notification to the server in response to reading the tag.
20. The method of claim 12, wherein providing to the server the first notification
comprises providing the first notification to the server according to a predetermined schedule.
PCT/US2017/026121 2016-04-06 2017-04-05 Systems, methods, and devices for real-time tracking, monitoring, and control using data storage tags WO2017176871A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US201662318952 true 2016-04-06 2016-04-06
US62/318,952 2016-04-06

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2017176871A1 true true WO2017176871A1 (en) 2017-10-12

Family

ID=60000711

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/US2017/026121 WO2017176871A1 (en) 2016-04-06 2017-04-05 Systems, methods, and devices for real-time tracking, monitoring, and control using data storage tags

Country Status (1)

Country Link
WO (1) WO2017176871A1 (en)

Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20020035515A1 (en) * 2000-07-14 2002-03-21 Eli Moreno System and method for remotely coordinating the secure delivery of goods
US20020156645A1 (en) * 2001-01-31 2002-10-24 Hansen Paul E. Network-based solution for secure parcel delivery and pick-up
US20060128023A1 (en) * 2003-04-09 2006-06-15 Paul Waterhouse Networked RF tag for tracking freight
US20140367080A1 (en) * 2009-12-07 2014-12-18 Meps Real-Time, Inc. Rfid enabled cabinet having temperature controlled drawer
US8972041B2 (en) * 2012-07-31 2015-03-03 Flextronics Ap, Llc Package delivery kiosk including integrated robotic package lifting assembly with shelving system
US20150120601A1 (en) * 2013-10-25 2015-04-30 Florence Manufacturing Company Electronically controlled parcel delivery system

Patent Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20020035515A1 (en) * 2000-07-14 2002-03-21 Eli Moreno System and method for remotely coordinating the secure delivery of goods
US20020156645A1 (en) * 2001-01-31 2002-10-24 Hansen Paul E. Network-based solution for secure parcel delivery and pick-up
US20060128023A1 (en) * 2003-04-09 2006-06-15 Paul Waterhouse Networked RF tag for tracking freight
US20140367080A1 (en) * 2009-12-07 2014-12-18 Meps Real-Time, Inc. Rfid enabled cabinet having temperature controlled drawer
US8972041B2 (en) * 2012-07-31 2015-03-03 Flextronics Ap, Llc Package delivery kiosk including integrated robotic package lifting assembly with shelving system
US20150120601A1 (en) * 2013-10-25 2015-04-30 Florence Manufacturing Company Electronically controlled parcel delivery system

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
US8554579B2 (en) Management, reporting and benchmarking of medication preparation
US8321302B2 (en) Inventory management system
US6859757B2 (en) Complex article tagging with maintenance related information
US6021392A (en) System and method for drug management
US20060041330A1 (en) System and method for checking the accuracy of a prescription fill
US20040024501A1 (en) Component tagging with maintenance related information including maintenance procedures
US7177721B2 (en) Computerized method and system for loading and/or unloading a tray having a light grid over a surface thereof
US20100017296A1 (en) Automated Dispensing System for Pharmaceuticals and Other Medical Items
US20080125724A1 (en) Injection device with reporting ability
US7146247B2 (en) Computerized method and system for loading and/or unloading a tray using laser scanning technology
US5611051A (en) Point of supply use distribution process and apparatus
US7382255B2 (en) Medical assistance and tracking method employing smart tags
US6961000B2 (en) Smart tag data encoding method
US20020032582A1 (en) System for medication dispensing and integrated data management
US20050113969A1 (en) Integrated suite of medical tools
US20100252626A1 (en) Portable container inventory control system
US20060079994A1 (en) Unit-dose medication dispensing cart and method of operating the same
US7098793B2 (en) Tracking system and method employing plural smart tags
US20050171738A1 (en) Systems and methods for transporting a product using an environmental sensor
US20040122713A1 (en) System and method for prescription home delivery
US8212677B2 (en) Automated medication management system and method for use
US7207481B2 (en) Method for improving security and enhancing information storage capability, the system and apparatus for producing the method, and products produced by the system and apparatus using the method
US6003006A (en) System of drug distribution to health care providers
US20050149358A1 (en) RFID tracking of anesthesiologist and patient time
US20030216974A1 (en) System and method for drug sample inventory and tracking