Medication non-adherence is a costly problem for our nation’s health-care system--to the tune of $290 billion a year.
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Forgetfulness is often cited as the top reason people don’t follow their medication plans, and the problem only gets worse for patients on multiple drugs.
To help keep patients on track with the treatments, a slew of apps and devices have hit the market. From web-based reminders to pill organizers, here’s a look at four new tools designed to help patients adhere to their treatment plans.
The MedMinder pill dispenser works in conjunction with the Internet to keep track of when medicine is taken to promote adherance.
Here’s how it works: Place the pills in the dispenser compartments and then go to MedMinder’s website to detail when the medicine should be taken. The site will then send reminders when it’s time to take the pills. The alerts come in the form of a light, sound alert, phone call, text or email. The device will even notify designated caregivers or family members when a medication isn’t taken. The pill dispenser and reminder service costs $39.99 a month, and the device needs to be returned to the company.
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Digestible Digital Pills
Be on the look out for new digestible pills with built in sensors to track when a user swallow medicine.
Some may be turned off by this new digital pill, but the FDA has green lighted Proteus Digital Health to work to digitize drugs to treat diabetes, the central nervous system and transplants.
According to Proteus Digital Health, each pill will contain a sensor that can communicate with its digital health feedback system to provide information about how users take the prescription drugs and how the body is responding to it. Proteus claims that more than 50% of people don’t get the complete benefits from their pharmaceuticals because they take the wrong dose or inconsistently take their medicine.
Pill Reminder Apps
Looking for a cheap way to remember to take your meds? Well, there’s plenty of apps for that. There are several apps for around $1 that will send alerts when it’s time to take medicine.
Drug.com’s app costs 99 cents and allows users to easily set medication reminders with a slew of different reminder sounds, the ability to have alerts for different family members and access to medical information on the prescribed drugs including side effects, dosage and interactions. You can also use the app to set a reminder to refill a prescription.
Available at pharmacies across the country, these pill cups are prepared by a pharmacist and contain the exact number of pills and the time to take the dose--eliminating any guess work.
The pill cups come organized in color-coded calendar card to keep track of the medication. Medicine-On Time also sends a text message when it’s time to take a medication with specific instruction on how to take it. Refills are automatically done by the pharmacist so there’s no worry of running out of pills.