As caregivers watch their loved ones age, one thing they’re sure to notice is the growing number medications they’re required to take for a wide range of medical conditions. Each prescription added to a drug regimen makes it that much harder to track each pill and the time it was taken. Technology can help with medications and seniors by ensuring that the right medications are taken at the right time.
A number of medicine tracking or reminder apps are available for use a smartphone or tablet computer. Startup company Mango Health encourages people to stay on their medication with a mobile app that turns medication management into a game. The app includes daily reminders to take meds. Patients report that they taken their meds on schedule, or that they’ve refilled a prescription on time. Staying on schedule wins points that can be applied to rewards, such as gift cards to popular retailers.
When caring for older adults, not everyone is comfortable with using mobile apps, or even with having a smartphone. The company MediSafe has developed medical management solution that works on mobile phones by sending a reminder to take a medication. For those who don’t have a mobile phone or just prefer landlines, the notifcation can be sent there as well. These reminders can also be sent to caregivers, so they can follow up with their loved one. Medisafe says its own internal research shows that its reminders boost medication compliance to 86 percent, compared with 50 percent compliance in the general population.
PillPack offers an alternative way to track medication. The company is an online pharmacy that delivers medication in plastic sleeves that are sorted by dose and by day. The dosage is labeled on each packet. PillPack co-founder TJ Parker told The Washington Post that he got the idea when he noticed that nursing homes repackaged their residents’ pills according to when they needed to be taken. In some cases, people kept a spreadsheet with the medication schedule that was posted in easy view on the refrigerator. PillPack’s packaging removes the need to do sort pills or track dosages on a spreadsheet. Operating as an online pharmacy, he says the company can make it easier for patients to organize and change prescriptions online. Caregivers can improve the way that they and their loved ones manage medications.
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