PillBoxNLMLogoNLM may not be known for Health 2.0 efforts, but this one surely qualifies for one. Pillbox.nlm.nih.gov is a fantastic tool that lets users identify medications by the way they look. A beautiful Adobe Flex powered interface enables selection of various physical characteristics like shape, color, size etc. and comes up with matches.

The website is not currently recommended for clinical use- mainly because the images have not yet been verified by pill manufacturers. Still, it’s a smart tool that can benefit multiple care settings. Many seniors coming through the emergency room and clinics don’t remember the name of their pills, but can recall its visual characteristics. A tool like this can be a great addition to EMRs and even PHRs.

September 2010 Update: Found out that the Epocrates free mobile drug reference app has a “Pill ID” feature which shows pictures of what the pill looks like. Wonder if those are the same images as the NIH pillbox.