June 30, 2017
Doctors from time immemorial have faced a challenge – improving medication adherence in patients. Studies have proven that nonadherence of medication causes massive losses for the healthcare industry, while damaging patient health. In general, about 50 percent of patients don’t complete their medication course.
After considerable amount of research, many physicians claim that patients can adhere to the prescribed medication using technology. It is imperative for patients to complete their medication course to cure themselves of the condition/disease. Nonadherence usually leads them back to the doc or even worse complicate their condition further.
As smartphones are increasingly becoming ubiquitous, they can help patients adhere to their medication. Thanks to numerous healthcare apps, medication adherence is easy.
Smartphones are multipurpose devices. They allow for constant communication and information relay. Complex tasks are performed by dedicated and specialized apps that consumers can download through Apple’s App Store and/or Google’s Play Store. Logically speaking, a smartphone is the best device to perennially check medication adherence. It not only improves adherence in patients, it educates, involves, and offers a comprehensive report of medication repository. All these invariably lead to a change in patient behavior and attitude towards medication adherence. The increasing novelty of mHealth apps (also known as pharmacy apps) helps in consolidating medication specific information.
The ease in accessibility coupled with minimal cost makes pharmacy apps a savior for anyone taking prescribed medication. These apps are particularly helpful for patients with complex medication regimens. Apps can be customized to notify patients if their prescription needs to be refilled. Additionally, apps can notify patients if a certain medicine is about to expire. Calendar based reminders, dosage, adverse effects, notes from the provider, can be customized by patients.
While we talk about the features and benefits of pharmacy apps, we should alternatively discuss the effectiveness of such apps. The efficacy of pharmacy apps is yet to be tested. There is limited data available on the effectiveness of these apps. Studies have shown that teenagers with asthma who used specialized systems to schedule personal text message reminders found pharmacy apps to be rather effective.
In general, smartphone users are the primary audience for adherence apps, which is currently at 58 percent of the United States adult population. Globally as the penetration of smartphones increases, it is more than likely that pharmacy apps will be used more often. Interestingly, these apps are marketed exclusively to consumers rather than healthcare professional, making the market easier to penetrate. While these apps make it possible to adhere to medication, as app developers, you should be aware of the HIPAA compliances that go along with developing an mHealth or a pharmacy app.
Adherence apps help patients track their medication. Maybe in the future they can dispense medicines! Who knows what the future has in store! What do you think about this blog post on mobile pharmacy apps and their role in revolutionizing medication adherence? Please share your view and suggestions in the comments section below.