News

Smartphone medication adherence apps: Potential benefits to patients and providers

Synopsis: Medication adherence applications (apps) available on three main smartphone operating systems (OSs; Apple, Android, and Blackberry) were evaluated, and the authors gave MyMedSchedule, MyMeds, and RxmindMe the highest ratings based on their wide range of features and enhanced levels of functionality. Although they have not been tested in trial settings, adherence apps could be considered a possible strategy for pharmacists to recommend to nonadherent patients. The apps can be easily implemented because they are inexpensive, scalable, accessible to anyone with smartphones, and do not require separate devices or packaging.

Analysis: Using a smartphone app is a novel approach to improving adherence and patient behavior; it is constantly accessible, involves and educates the patient, and provides a repository for patient- and medication-specific information. Providers caring for patients taking complex medication regimens may value having the ability to input patients' prescribed regimens and then “pushing” them directly to patients' smartphones. Interoperability with existing prescription and medical records systems represents a vital frontier for future app development. This interoperability would shift the current orientation of adherence apps to a more provider-focused technology and thereby provide pharmacists a potentially valuable tool to improve medication adherence.

Complete study available here, via the Journal of the APhA.

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