Sunday, July 21, 2013

New App Could Prevent Patients from Missing Medication

My opinion:  Despite the fact that I think this is a fabulous idea, there remains one big flaw - many of the people who are missing medications are seniors, who probably don't own smartphones.  Even if they did, it is likely that they would not understand how to use them.  Cell phones like Jitterbug, which are more commonly used be the elderly, need to be equipped with this program.  Also, doctors and pharmacists should make themselves familiar with the interface, as they may have to teach their patients how to use the app.  On another note, the article mentions that many people skip their medication intentionally.  If this is so, then this app cannot fix that problem.  Rather, it may take social therapy and/or a trusted friend or relative who can persuade the patient to take their medication.  Finally, sometimes the issue is that patients don't understand the directions they are given.  Doctors and pharmacists should use the "teach back" approach in which the patient tells the healthcare professional what he or she thinks the directions mean.  Any other tips to help fix the problem?  Feel free to comment.


Minnesota doctor's app may become a popular medicine reminder

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 20, 2013 - 3:48 PM

Many people forget to take their prescribed medications and wind up at risk of serious illness.
Dr. Rajiv Shah, a physician and founder of the Minneapolis tech firm MyMeds, wants to use a little psychology and a smartphone app to gently nudge patients to take their pills.
“This is considered one of the biggest problems in health care today,” said Shah, 41, who juggles his work as a full-time kidney specialist at Intermed Consultants in Edina with being the CEO of MyMeds.
Researchers agree. Failure to take prescribed medications, either accidentally or deliberately, “causes approximately 33 percent to 69 percent of medication-related hospitalizations and accounts for $100 billion in annual [U.S.] health care costs,” a group of University of Arkansas researchers said in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association this year. Others estimate such costs at as much as $300 billion.
The Arkansas researchers said that about half of all U.S. patients taking prescription drugs for chronic diseases don’t take them as prescribed.


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