In a new posting by Laurie Orlov, Technology Can Help Make Medication Management Smarter, she reminds us that “…medication non-adherence (not filling prescriptions or missing dosages) is a major health issue resulting in 10% of hospitalizations, 125,000 deaths, and costing the healthcare system up to $300 billion/year.”
Orlov offers the following recommendations:
First, a simple app solution can help. Setting a calendar entry (no app required) or downloading a medication reminder app can help users avoid missing their medication. Free apps, like Pill Reminder (iPhone) and PillsOnTime (Android) also track missed doses. Tracker by Medisafe (iPhone and Android), not only reminds you when it’s time for a refill but enables you to track vitals like blood pressure. Davis’ Drug Guide (iPhone) even contains detailed drug information for patients who have questions about a drug, the possible side effects, or its interactions with other medications.
Next, medication dispensing pre-packaged containers can help with complex regimens. For some individuals, a plastic 7-day pill container provides enough structure. But if problems occur as a result of not taking doses, technology-enabled containers are designed to help prevent both missing a dose or taking the wrong pill. Units are easily connected to the Internet for communication to caregivers about whether the unit was opened at the right time. They include PillPack (recently acquired by Amazon) which delivers the packaged medication doses and has an accompanying app to track information about them. Then there is MedMinder, an automated dispensing box that can be preloaded by the pharmacy. PillPack and MedMinder charge just the co-pay medication cost. Finally, consider Philips’ Automated Medication Dispensing Service – in which a caregiver loads up to 40 days of doses which are dispensed in small cups per dose at a cost of $59.95 per month.