How to Help Save Lives with Med Reminder Apps

Medication non-adherence can be a life-threatening prospect for some long term care facility residents. Nearly 125,000 deaths annually are attributed to failed medication adherence. It can also be a costly problem within your facility. When residents who are on strict or complex medication regimens get off schedule or take the wrong dosage, the result is typically repeated hospitalizations. As they return to your facility, additional time and attention is also required from your staff to properly monitor those residents. Most people don’t intentionally skip a dose or get their pills mixed up, but, sometimes, they just get confused or forget. The good news is that there are many med reminder apps available for those residents who regularly use a smartphone or mobile device.

 So, how do you choose one?

Last year, the University of Arkansas conducted a study of 461 medication adherence apps and presented their findings at the American Pharmacist Association annual meeting. This shows us two things. First, a mobile app is now a viable alternative to pill cases and sorters that really only help organize medications. Second, the number of medication tracking apps is incredible. Here are the three top performers. Each application was rated on a scale of 1-5 stars (5 being the best) across five categories: Adherence Attributes, Medication Management, Connectivity, General Features, and Health Literacy.

Medisafe

Overall Rating:  5 stars

To make managing meds easier, Medisafe enlists the help of visuals. The app actually shows an image of every pill once each medication is entered, creating what the app creators refer to as a "virtual pillbox." Medisafe received an overall rating of five stars with slightly lower marks in the Medication Management and Connectivity categories.

Key features:

  • Intuitive visual interface with easy-to-use medication reminder
  • Syncing family members’ devices and medications in real time
  • Prescription refill reminders
  • Medication progress reports that can be sent to a doctor or nurse
  • Reminders come through even if the mobile device is asleep
  • Notifications to designated contacts if the main user has forgotten to take medication or has ignored a reminder

MyMeds

Overall Rating:  5 stars

Sporting a clean and simple user interface, MyMeds touts the ease of managing medications. It also received an overall five-star rating, but received four stars in the Adherence Attributes and General Features categories.

Key features:

  • Daily medication and refill reminders via text, email or push notification
  • Clear information for helping users understand why to take their meds
  • Analysis of medication usage history
  • Price shopping of prescriptions near the user
  • Syncing with a healthcare team and loved ones

Care4Today

Overall Rating:  5 stars

Promoted as a mobile health manager, Care4Today has a broader focus beyond just managing medication schedules. It achieved an overall rating of five stars but fell short in the Connectivity and General Features categories.

Key features:

  • Notifications to help stay on schedule, including dosages
  • Reminders for prescription refills
  • Front and back stock images of the medications to be taken
  • Built-in reports that track medication consumption

Each of these med reminder apps is available for free on the App Store (i0S) and Google Play (Android). Residents who are able should consider downloading the best medication reminder app for their individual needs. This will ensure they’re taking the proper medications, in the right dosage, at the right time. They’ll be healthier in the long run and it might just save their life. For long term care administrators, financial and staffing resources will be better allocated toward providing the best proactive resident care possible.

 

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