The Veta Smart Case & App from Aterica combines smart tech, with smart App features to ensure that you have your EpiPen on hand.
Buzz, Buzz, Buzz! For many of us, this alliterative word is fun to say, may excite the inner entomologist inside of you or even spark a craving for some honey. However, for those with Hymenopteran allergies, there may be no scarier sound. According to WebMD, roughly 2 million Americans suffer from allergies to bees/wasps. For those with these types of allergies, a sting means potential death due to anaphylaxis. Unfortunately, this only scratches the surface of the problem, when you consider 15 million Americans with food allergies, 5.9 million of them children. My middle son, now seven, was diagnosed with egg/peanut allergy at the age of three and Epi-Pens became a major part of our life. Luckily, we have not had to use an Epi-Pen, but we have to buy at least two new auto-injectors annually. With the drastic increase in the price of the Mylan product and limited supply issues, these devices have become both incredibly expensive and valuable. For those of you who are not familiar with Epi-Pens, these are life-sustaining medications that can provide valuable minutes to someone suffering from anaphylaxis. Breathe the wrong thing, eat the wrong thing, get stung by the wrong thing, and just be in the wrong place at the wrong time and your body goes through a cascade of chemical changes. These chemicals may cause you to lose the ability to breathe, your blood pressure may drop and you may die. Epi-Pens cause constriction of your blood vessels, increase your heart rate, relax the muscles causing airway tightness and allow blood and life-sustaining oxygen to pump to your brain. With the risks of return symptoms and life-threatening consequences, it is typically recommended to go to the ER after using one of these life-saving-epinephrine injecting devices. Alas, many people forget them at home.
The Veta Smart Case & App from Aterica arrived in a 3 13/16 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches tall by 2 3/4 inches wide retail case. The cover was adorned with an incredibly attractive 1 7/8 inches wide by 7 inches tall Veta Epi-Pen case. The surrounding literature discussed the dual “smart, transparent cases for your epinephrine auto-injectors, with a connected app,” Google Play and iOS App Store support, and support for name brand and generic Epi-Pen/Epi-Pen Jr auto-injectors. To learn more about the device, you can use a QR reader to scan the QR code on the lower corner of the cover. Rotate the packaging ninety degrees clockwise to evaluate the left side of the box. You will find seven labeled icons that detail the temperature control, FindMe locator, separation alerts, Removal Alerts, Expiration watch, support circles, and battery monitor. Each device comes with a one-year support circle subscription, and for a limited time, MyVeta has graciously extended this an additional year. The opposing side panel provided two blue rectangular panels representing the utility of the device. Place your EpiPen into the case, connect to the Veta App and through a secure cloud, connect to each person in the Support Circle. By simplifying this process and providing a pictorial guide to the device, Aterica did a great job with this panel.
The reverse panel continued the overall theme and provided useful imagery. Front-and-center, Aterica added an actual-size 7 1/16 inches long by 2 3/16 inches wide image of the Veta Smart Case. Additionally, you can scan a QR code along the top right and review a list of compatible smart devices along the top left. The top panel provided a pictorial list of included accessories: two cases, two lids, two rubber bands and two sets of AAA batteries. The top panel provided an oblique top-down view of the cases and repeated the similar information to the cover. To access the device, remove the tape along both sides of the box and slip the lid off of the box. The first thing that I noted upon opening the box was a large 3 1/8 inches wide by 6 13/16 inches tall vividly-colored instruction manual. Behind the manual, I found the two Veta devices contained within an upper and lower small translucent plastic tray. The lids were located inversely to one-another and the middle housed accessory lids, AAA batteries. The two rubber bands were located atop each of the thin translucent trays. which housed the lid/bottom of the Veta cases.
The cover of the instruction manual showed the main features of the device. Open the yellow cap, lift the white “Smarts Pull Handle” and slide out the “Smarts.” Remove the rear facing battery compartment and affix one of the included 32 battery case label stickers to the back of the battery compartment: orange, pink, cream, purple, grey, brown, blue, and green with white polka dot. Follow the internal battery orientation and add two AAA batteries into each of the “Smarts.” Once they are installed, the case will make a series of chirps and a LED will illuminate. Replace the battery cover, reinsert the “Smarts” and then choose to leave the cap as yellow (EpiPen adult) or change it to green (EpiPen Jr). Add your EpiPen, orange end first into the case and then securely close the lid. Repeat the above steps for the second EpiPen device. The instruction manual was well worded and provided useful images for each step in the process. Once the devices were set up, I was instructed to navigate to the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store. Search the store for “Veta” and download the appropriate App.
The App will take you through a series of instructional panels, will ask if you wish to allow notifications and locations and will then require you to sign-up for an account. All you need to sign up is an email address and a password that you select. The App will send an email to your chosen account and you can then complete the setup. I downloaded the App on my iPhone XS Max and noticed that the margins extended from edge-to-edge. The App was well laid out and reasonable to use, providing access to similar features from multiple locations within the App. Across the top of the screen, there were three horizontal bars, which allowed you to access the settings: Profile, Account Lock, Help/About, Report an Issue, Home, Smart Cases, Assist, Support Circle, resources, Log Out. Along the top right, you will find a silence bell with “zZ.” Along the bottom, you can access icons for Home, Smart Cases, Assist, Circle, and Resources. To start, I selected the three horizontal bars along the top left of the screen and adjusted my profile. I was able to enter my name and my email, to add a name to call when the case was opened and when the device was removed. With the profile set up, I navigated to Veta Smart Cases and chose the option to Scan QR Code to register. This process could not have been easier.
The App will register the QR code and will then walk you through a tutorial. Press the icon along your top right and a location map will appear on your screen, denoting the location of the case. If you tap the Start button, the EpiPen Veta case will start to beep and flash. This was not terribly loud and might possibly go unnoticed if surrounded by loud background noises. With the location settings completed, I was able to click settings to configure the case. I changed the Case Name/Theme, responsibilities, expiration date (Expiry), temperature range (set to 60-85) and update the firmware. Once completed, I repeated the process for the second device. Tap the “+” icon along the top right of the case to add the second case and then walk through the steps again. If you have multiple cases, multiple pens, you can set each one up this same way. If you tap the “Assist” icon along the bottom of the screen, you will be taken to a screen that will let you call the pre-set people in the App. You can find your Smart Cases or you can tap “Resources” to see a demo on how to use an EpiPen/EpiPen jr. If you tap “Circle” you can invite people to the circle. Add their email and invite them to the group. You can also adjust the responsibilities of the people in the circle, to a manager or to a carrier, if desired. The app had many useful features to keep you near your Epi-Pen. You can evaluate the temperature range, if you walk beyond Bluetooth distances, the phone will alert you to the absence of the Epi-Pen/Case.
Of all of the Veta features, I felt that the most important/exciting aspect was the removal alert. With the potential of life-ending anaphylaxis and the dread-inducing feeling of being unable to breathe, I want to prevent my son from being alone if he had an issue. I suffered from moderate to severe asthma as a youth and learned first hand the reality of shortness of breath. Similar to a rescue asthma inhaler, the Veta case can serve as a temporizing tool, allowing you precious minutes to get to an urgent/emergent center. Sometimes, help cannot arrive quickly enough or we are powerless to head toward it or to call for assistance. When you remove the EpiPen from the Veta device, it starts a timer that alerts the contact in the linked smart device. The Veta case is not designed to link directly with law enforcement or EMS personnel. Rather, this feature is an added safety net to alert the owner that the EpiPen may have been used. You can then call the person to check on them, activate the location feature and get/send help to someone who may not be able to call for help themselves. That feature was truly exceptional and I loved that it had a countdown timer with deactivation feature as well. For anyone with kids, what happens to the boy who cried wolf? Also, what happens if I put up a sign that says do not touch wet paint? We all know that children will test this case and remove the pen. It provides a way to show them the consequences without truly alerting someone. When the alert triggers, the phone will loudly alarm, alerting you to the need for assistance.
When I met and talked with a few members from the company, a few years ago at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, I was truly excited to hear about the amazing technology. There is no doubt that Epi-Pens save lives, but sometimes we need additional assistance, beyond that of the Epi-Pen. An App linked case, one that keeps track of the temperature of the device, alerts you when the medicine is about to expire and one that alerts a safety net when the device is removed is absolutely amazing. The reusable case will outlast the annual expiration of the pens and will ensure that our loved ones have better access to these medications. This device is perfect for teens/adults and anyone with an iPhone 5 and above, iPod Touch 5th generation or newer, Samsung Galaxy S6, S7, S8, Samsung Note 5/6, Google Nexus 5X/6P/Pixel(2), and Android devices 6.1 and above. My son, Sam, is only 7 and does not yet have a smartphone. For those with younger children, the parental phone can act as the conduit for the Smart Case/App combo. My only complaint about this product is for those kids between about six years old and twelve years old, that may be going places without parents. The App does allow you to set up a circle of individuals, and hopefully, an adult is nearby that can act as the link to the case. Personally, I would love for this kit to work with a piece of tech like the Gizmo Gadget Watch, which can make calls and text messages to preset numbers. The ability to use the watch to alert a parent would drastically expand the utility of this device. Like an Aerochamber for an albuterol inhaler, the Veta Case/App enhances the effectiveness of the medication. Without insurance coverage, this device may be difficult to afford for some people. However, I would pay everything I have and not just the cost of $169, if it meant my children were safe.