Whether it’s to help manage multiple medicines, provide patients with information on the correct use or to help patients set timely reminders, mhealth apps can provide a platform to improve medication management. The idea is to provide patients with varying technology levels with an easy to use device to help them better manage their medicines. As many as 50% of patients don’t take their medicine as prescribed by their doctor, costing the NHS £300 million per year. In the USA, the figure is closer to $290 billion.
Medication management apps can be used to remind patients to take their medicines on time, in the right quantities and renew their prescriptions. For example, diabetes patients can benefit by setting timely reminders for insulin injections or to monitor blood glucose levels. For asthma patients, it could be that they use mobile health apps to improve their inhaler technique. In the long term, poor adherence to medicines can lead to significant health problems or even hospitalization. As high as 69% of non adherence is down to patient behaviors such as forgetfulness or confusion due to the struggle of managing multiple medicines. Furthermore, there is also the possibility patients may double dose which in turn could lead to other problems.
The benefits of mobile health apps are not restricted to just patients. Spiraling clinical trial costs have resulted in pharma companies requiring more accurate information on medicines. The interest here lies in ensuring the specific medicine works and to gain insights into patients to optimize care. Similarly, physicians can use the same information to tailor treatment plans for patients.
High non adherence rates and medicine wastage are increasing healthcare costs around the globe. To reduce costs, patients and physicians will need to work more closely to tailor treatment plans. By using mobile health apps, patients have a platform to take control and engage with their health. Furthermore, patients storing their medicine information will inevitably benefit physicians and pharma companies who will gain valuable information on the effect of medicines.