There are literally thousands of apps designed to help patients remember to take their medicine. A recent study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) identified more than 5,800 in the Apple Store and Google Play combined. Here are 6 that we like for their ability to engage users to take their medicine using simple reminders and features. Several also have unique, additional features.
As the JMIR researchers pointed out, fewer than 75 of more than 5,800 medication adherence apps they screened were developed with healthcare provider involvement and fewer than 10 were found to have an evidence base. So, keep in mind that these apps have been chosen for ease of use and value as a reminder and medication and adherence tool, not their ability to provide an evidence base to support care. While each is user friendly and engaging, and all offer reminder features to boost adherence as well as tracking history that can be shared with a physician or other provider, the reviews don't attest to the evidence base used in the technology nor their clinical efficacy.
Medisafe primarily offers medication reminders and drug interaction warnings, and the company says it has nearly 4.5 million users. Additional features include a place for entering pills-on-hand, health measures such as blood pressure, appointments, daily diary entries, and doctors. Medisafe also includes medication discount coupons from GoodRx, which can be used at thousands of pharmacies. A recent study of 4,000 Medisafe users showed that the Medication Possession Ratio (MPR) increased an average of 8 points when those patients used the app. And 74% of users who started with an adherence rate of less than 50% increased their adherence by 5 deciles - a significant improvement.
Mango is a cheery, orange-skinned app that send patients reminders to take their medicine and take action on other healthy habits like hydrating, eating better, or checking blood glucose levels. Users are reminded to record these actions, as well as their mood, by selecting icons. Dashboards provide an image-driven display of the user's percentage adherence to each medication and habit as compared with the Mango Health user community. The app also turns taking pills and taking actions into a game. Each time you mark that you took a medicine, for example, you earn points toward rewards in a weekly raffle. Mango is partnering with physicians, insurers, employers, and pharmacy benefit managers to improve adherence.
One of the most striking things about Round Health is its simplicity. With an easy medication set-up workflow and the fact that all the app does is send reminders and track pills remaining, Round Health is a good choice for older patients or those who need a simple feature set in order for them to use technology to manage their adherence. The intuitive, touch-screen time dial feature for setting each reminder time is unique.
Wellth is unique for its use of behavioral economics and loss aversion principles to engage patients consistently in managing their own care. The company works through health systems and hospitals to offer its mobile app, which uses financial reward tools to drive patients to take their medicines and follow their doctor's recommendations. The result is reduced readmissions and healthier lifestyles for people who have conditions such as COPD and diabetes. As part of a hospital or payor's care management or post-acute care follow up process, patients are enrolled in the Wellth app. After being reminded to take their medicines, they take a photograph of the pills in their hand, or the meal they've prepared, to indicate compliance. Care managers or other providers are notified via exception report when patients fall short, triggering them to call, text, or email to follow up.
Unlike most other apps, Dosecast enables people to select from a range of reminder sounds. And if you travel frequently, you'll appreciate the app's adjustment of each medication reminder time the correct time zone. Dosecast also allow users to take a photo of their pill and upload it, rather than choose from a generic set of images like some of the other apps. It contains a drug database so it's easy to choose the right medication before you set a reminder, and tracks the remaining quantity of each drug you enter - sending a refill alert when you are running low.f
The MyMeds app offers simple to set up reminders and a medication tracking report, and offers a Circle of Care feature that enables patients to invite family members, doctors, other caregivers to view their progress. Users can optionally add a reason for taking a medication, and set a reminder to "snooze" if the medication is no longer being taken, but may in the future. MyMeds also allows you to specify any relevant restrictions, like taking a pill with food, for example. MyMeds has partnered with pharmacy benefit managers, employers, and payors on non-adherence programs, and the platform can integrate with other technologies to make the patient's registration and set up experience faster.