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Did you remember to take your medication this morning?

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
medication compliance, health risk, death, overdosage

Routine tasks such as opening a pill container and taking a pill tend to have a low impact on memory function. Thus, it is not uncommon to miss taking a medication at the prescribed time or taking it twice. Approximately 50% of patients do not take their medications as directed. This non-compliance leads to more than 125,000 deaths every year in the United States. It also costs close to $300 billion in increased healthcare costs. Although individuals of any age may have non-compliance episodes regarding their medications, seniors and individuals with cognitive limitations are more apt to fail to take their medication as prescribed. Two helpful new products that improve medication compliance are now available: the MediSafe mobile app and the Rx Timer Cap. An added plus is that these devices can often be obtained free of charge.

On November 14, the MediSafe Project launched the first-ever cloud-synced mobile app designed to help prevent emergencies caused by over- or under-dosing medications. The user friendly device is available for all Android devices, and compatible with iPhones and iPads. It not only reminds users when it iss time to take their medication but also incorporates families’, friends’, and caretakers’ intervention instincts by sending them alerts when a loved one misses a dose.

Inspired by their diabetic father’s accidental insulin double-dose, brothers Rotem and Omri ‘Bob’ Shor view MediSafe Project as a way to lower hospitalization and mortality rates, promote sustainable behavior changes that prolong health, decrease long-term healthcare costs and help pharmaceutical companies understand patients’ barriers to medication compliance.

“An American dies every nineteen minutes from skipping medication or taking meds incorrectly; the problem costs U.S. hospitals $100 billion every year,” said MediSafe Project CEO Omri ‘Bob’ Shor. “MediSafe Project combats the staggering problem of medication non-compliance using everyday technology and the power of support systems to integrate healthier behaviors into patients’ lives. The ripple effects from these changes benefit our entire society.”

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Part of the first graduating class of the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure, MediSafe Project also has vital, Big Data implications for pharmaceutical companies. From anonymous demographics, geolocation and patient behaviors to physician trends and other market aspects, MediSafe Project’s broad analytics can help pharmaceutical companies better understand how people receive and take their medication. Says Shor: “The dashboard is able to show you which demographics have higher non-compliance for a drug compared to the general population, the doctors or areas that have the lowest prescription rates with a city, competitive drugs patients are switching to, and so on.” Discussions with several Big Pharma companies are underway, and Shor expects partnership deals to begin closing when MediSafe Project exits Beta status in 2013.

Initial launch features include:

  • Visual, Easy-to-use User Interface – The app’s homescreen resembles an interactive pillbox. Users can customize different meds to look like different pills, and the center MediSafe logo turns into a mouth swallowing meds when users signify taking medication by dragging preconfigured pills into it.
  • FDA Drug Database Compatible – Users can type in medications’ generic or brand names, or take pictures with their devices’ cameras of the FDA’s universal National Drug Code (NDC) number – included on all original pharmaceutical packaging – and the correct pharmaceutical name, manufacturer and medication strength will automatically be recorded, ensuring an error-free medication list in the event of a medical emergency.
  • Prescription Refill Alerts – Users receive alerts before medication courses are completed, allowing them to order prescription refills for medications taken chronically.

The Rx Timer Cap is a simple and easy to use ‘smart cap’ that helps patients take medication on time according to their doctor’s prescription The device is available for free to many pharmacy customers nationwide. The Rx Timer Cap features a built-in LCD timer that automatically counts the minutes and hours since a patient last took their medication. This improves dosage instruction compliance and healthcare outcomes by providing critical feedback for patients that lets them know how they are doing taking their medication on time.

As a result of its success among patients nationwide in the important area of medication compliance, several healthcare and governmental organizations have cited the Rx Timer Cap as an innovative and effective tool in helping reduce overall healthcare costs. Richard Million Burke, Jr., the company’s president and founder, noted “We are extremely pleased by the unanimous acceptance by pharmacies for the Rx Timer Cap® and their recognition of our product as a valuable compliance tool that is proven to enhance patient healthcare outcomes by improving patient medication adherence.”

For further information on the MediSafe mobile app, click on this link.
For further information on the Rx Timer Cap, click on this link.