The day starts off great. In spite of only a few hours of fitful sleep I’m up and about and off to a breakfast meeting. Towards the conclusion of my breakfast meeting it occurs to me, “I didn’t take my medications.” I make a mental note to take them as soon as I get home – but forget (yup, I’m a forgetful person). Soon enough its time for my lunch meeting – which is just grand as well – but by the time its over I can feel that something is off. What is going on? Why do I feel so something? It isn’t fatigue – though it kind of feels sleepy, it isn’t depression – though it is a bit angst-ridden. “You didn’t take your medications.” As soon as the thought enters my head I know the cause of my distress and I understand why I’ve felt sluggish between meeting this morning – and while I am feeling sluggish now. I drive home and as I enter the house I scold myself, “No! Don’t do anything…no bathroom, no mail, no taking off your coat – go take your medications!” I know I have a long day ahead of me and if I don’t take my medications now I will be miserable for the rest of the day – which in turn makes me less-than-optimally-productive.
All this to say – its time for me to get a smartphone app (yes, I live by my smartphone – which has my Bible, calendar, email, internet, text messaging, weight loss, todo list, gps, and yes, even solitaire, to keep me going throughout the day) that will annoy me until I take my medications each day. So, as usual, I’ve decided to share my research with the world wide web – and hopefully others will find this research helpful and we can all get back about our more-productive and wholesome days.
The first medication adherence application I came upon is amazing (there website including links to downloading the app is www.medisafeproject.com). I’ll probably do more research eventually – but for right now I already have the app. installed and am using it and it is working wonderfully. It is available for both the iPhone and Android and has a low-tech solution in the works (to be released this year) for those who don’t have smart phones. Lets talk for a moment about the app’s awesomeness:
- Can handle multiple medications per day at different times of the day.
- Allows you to setup a refill reminder that will automatically warn you a few days before you run out of pills.
- Allows you to add a caretaker who will be notified if you fail to take your pills.
- Offers a barcode reader which can read many medications and add them automatically.
- Is highly customizable:
- How many minutes between snoozing each reminder alarm?
- How many are the maximum number of alarms you should receive?
- What sound do you want to use? Do you want the phone to vibrate?
- Create and manage caretakers.
- Create and manage additional users – e.g. if you have children who you want to track medications for in addition to self.
- Offers reporting on compliance which can be exported to an excel document.
This app is so awesome it stands on its own, but if I could have a few dream improvements they would include:
- The upcoming low-tech feature, as a lot of elderly people don’t have smartphones and oftentimes really need this sort of application.
- The ability for bi-directional communication with the pharmacy (if desired) so that refills are available for pickup / mailed to ensure no lapses in medication.
- Option for phone lockout until medication has been taken.
- Option to lock the settings so that individuals who might accidentally or purposefully misconfigure settings would be unable to do so.
- Ability to share on Facebook. Yeah, I don’t really want to share if I take my medications on Facebook every day – but once in a while I would to help promote medisafe.