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MANAGING PATIENTS

Do your patients need medication reminders?

When prescribing medication, physicians provide patients with dosage information. Pharmacies also provide this information when filling prescriptions.

Nevertheless, patients often have a difficult time remembering what and how much medication to take when. The situation can be especially problematic when a patient takes multiple prescription drugs.

With this mind, your medical practice may want to point patients in the direction of smartphone apps that not only provide this information but include reminders.

Here are some of the top apps for pill reminder, from AppCrawlr, an app search engine.

Apps for iPhone and iPad

RxmindMe Prescription / Medicine Reminder and Pill Tracker

Source: Walgreen Co.

Cost: Free

Overview: RxmindMe is a reminder app for medications, vitamins, and supplements. It allows a patient to enter all dosage information, set up reminders, and keep track of when s/he take them.

App feature highlights:

  • Customize with nine different types of reminders based on dosage frequency.
  • Keeping track of medication adherence will automatically update the prescription quantity.
  • Ability to refill or transfer an existing prescription to Walgreens.
  • Export all patient prescription data with ease.
  • Email prescription history.
  • Ability to search the entire FDA Drug Database for medications.
  • All patient prescription information is secure and is only stored on patient’s iPhone. A patient can even protect it with a passcode.
  • Historical tracking of patient prescriptions.

Dosecast

Source: Montuno Software

Cost: Free

Overview: Dosecast is a flexible and easy-to-use app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad to help patients remember to take medications, vitamins, or birth control pills on time.

App feature highlights:

  • Sends dose reminders with or without an Internet connection with nine different types of reminders based on dosage frequency.
  • Tracks the time zone patient is in when traveling and adjusts reminders accordingly, so patient gets notified correctly no matter where s/he is.
  • Allows for flexible scheduling. Where other apps can only remind a patient to take medication at the same time every day, Dosecast helps patient take doses on a daily/weekly/monthly schedule, every X days/weeks, or even after a pre-set number of hours or days since the last dose. Plus, a patient can avoid dangerous overdoses by setting a maximum number of doses allowed per day or per 24 hours.
  • Lets patient assign specific medications to different people (or even pets). Sort medications by person, time of next dose, drug name, or drug type – so a patient can keep the whole family’s medication schedule organized.
  • Allows patient to take a photo of each drug to identify it more easily to help ensure that s/he is taking the right drug when a dose is due.

Pillboxie

Source: Jared Sinclair

Cost: $.99

Overview: Pillboxie provides an easy way for a patient to remember meds. Where other med reminder apps are too complicated or just downright boring, Pillboxie lets a patient “visually” manage meds. Scheduling a reminder is as easy as dropping a pill into a pillbox.

App feature highlights:

  • Designed and developed by a registered nurse.
  • Schedule reminders just by dropping pills into a pillbox.
  • Reminds patient on time, even if device is asleep.
  • No network connection required.
  • Use Pillboxie on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
  • Customize meds with many combinations of med types and colors.
  • Pixel-perfect original graphics look great on Retina Displays.
  • Provides a list of what meds are “due today” and checks them off.

Apps for Android

Med Help Pill Reminder

Source: EarthFlare

Cost: Free

Overview: Med Helper keeps track of patient prescriptions – alarms remind the patient when medication needs to be taken, when doctors appointments are scheduled, and when meds are running low or are about to expire. Med Helper also tracks vital signs and PRN / take-as-needed medication. A patient can log and export or print detailed reports for his or her doctor, nurse or caregiver.

App feature highlights:

  • Allows patient to create a detailed prescription list that includes medication alias, side effects, and more.
  • Lets patient schedule reminders.
  • Keeps track of medication inventory.
  • Tracks patient vitals.
  • Tracks patient symptoms.

My PillBox (Meds & Pill Reminder)

Source: Master B

Cost: Free

Overview: My Pillbox (Meds & Pill Reminder) is designed to help patients properly track and remind medications easily. Remembering to take medication, especially if you’re juggling a bunch of them, can be a huge headache. My Pillbox Reminder presents the medicine “visually,” to make it easy to manage medication, take it on time, and safely.

App feature highlights:

  • Creates visual images of medication.
  • Tracks medication use of multiple family members
  • Shares information with family members, caregivers, and doctors through an analytics dashboard for medication monitoring.

Low-tech alternatives

What about patients who aren’t tech savvy? The ones whose eyes glaze over when you utter the word, “app”?

There are medication reminders for them as well.

The MedCenter System, for example, is a 31-day monthly pill organizer and talking pill reminder system. It allows a patient to set up to four daily alarms to alert him or her when medication is due. A repeating friendly reminder notifies the patient of the time, the date, and which daily dose to take. (“Good morning! Please take your morning pills for the 20th.”) The patient then presses the “alarm acknowledged button” to confirm compliance and the MedCenter talking alarm clock tells him or her when the next daily dose is due.

Unlike other systems, the MedCenter System emphasizes the date rather than day of the week. This repetition of the date helps ensure consistency, even if the user is unsure whether it is Monday or Tuesday. ​

The product manufacturer points out that millions of Americans do not take their medicines correctly. People simply forget to take them, are confused about when and in what amount to take them, or lack the personal organization to carry out the daily task. Indeed, it was personal experience with such confusion that led to the system’s creation.

“Growing up, my father would forget to take his necessary medication – which would result in him fainting and passing out,” says Martin Cooper, inventor of the MedCenter System. “Coming up with a way to organize my parents’ medications and encourage their adherence was the true motivation behind creating the system.”

Providing assistance

Whether patients choose a low-tech or high-tech solution to medication management, it’s important they find a system that works for them.

These statistics, from the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, a non-profit organization focusing on national health issues, help explain why. In 2013, Americans 0 to 18 years of age filled an average 4.1 prescriptions for retail drugs at pharmacies; Americans ages 19-64 filled 12.2 prescriptions; and Americans 65 years of age and older filled 27.4 prescriptions.

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