Functions that help your patients with medication management

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According to Statista, drug applications are among the 10 most popular mHealth application categories used by US adults. About 21% of the survey respondents say they have used some sort of medication tracker or reminder at least once.

For a healthcare provider, developing a medication application means having greater control over the medication management of patients and therefore providing better and safer care. In this article, we list six functions that can be part of a multifunctional drug application and explain why it involves this type of patient application in treatment can be effective.

Medication plan

A medication intake plan with a list of treatments, instructions and prescribed doses is the basic feature of an application for quality patients. Typically, a physician creates the medication plan in the app, shares it on a patient’s mobile device, and can freely edit it to ensure effective use of the medication.

With a digital medication plan, healthcare professionals and patients will always be on the same page. If after a face-to-face or electronic visit a patient needs a medication dose adjustment, they can contact their doctor and review and update their medication plan. In addition, other features of the app become much more useful and convenient to use when they can access medication scheduling data.

Medication reminder

Unlike a patient taking one or two types of pills, a patient with a more intensive medication plan may have difficulty remembering which pill to take at what time. These patients will benefit from reminders with notifications showing the name of the drug and its dose. You can also show a photo of what a necessary pill is like. That way, even a person with a neurodegenerative disease will not go wrong.

Notifications can remind the user not only of medication intake, but also the need to replenish medication. For this feature to work, a patient must regularly take note of the dose and number of pills they have purchased and enter this data into their mobile medication plan. The automated algorithm will then calculate the date on which the stock will run out and notify the patient in advance.

Drug interaction tester

Another feature that can help patients with medication intake is a drug interaction checker. Because it is part of a multifunctional drug application, the interaction checking algorithm can always run in the background. After a healthcare professional or patient adds a new drug to the existing list in the drug schedule, the interaction verifier automatically runs a test and displays a warning message in case the new entry is incompatible with the medication that it is already in the plan. In addition, patients can set up their individual conditions, such as allergies or pregnancies, and have the app check the interaction of the status and drug of each drug entry that is added to their plan.

Recipe renewal

Making prescription renewal available through a mobile app means saving time for both patients and healthcare professionals. After receiving an automatic reminder about the expiration of your prescription, the patient will be asked to fill out the drug renewal form. A doctor will receive the form digitally, contact the patient only in case of doubt about their condition and will also send them a new prescription through the app. A patient can print the prescription or show it to the pharmacy manager directly on the screen of their phone.

Drug price / location search

Standalone medication applications that allow you to search for the nearest or cheapest pharmacy with the necessary medication in stock are already popular among patients. However, when combined with the function of the medication plan, the search becomes much more convenient.

Patients do not need to remember and enter the names of their medications in a search box. All they have to do is select an entry in their schedule, sort parameters such as cost and distance by priority, and enable a GPS-based search. If the app is associated with certain pharmacies, the results page will show the discounts a patient can opt for. A map with navigation is optional, but can also be useful, especially for users who prioritize a lower price and agree to travel long distances to little-known places.

Pill identifier

It’s not uncommon to find a vial of unlabeled pills, a bottle with a faded description, or a single loose pill in the medicine box and have a vague idea of ​​what those pills are. A pill identification feature can help in this situation and will tell the patient which pills he has.

The two possible ways to implement this functionality differ in development costs and ease of use. The cheapest but least convenient option is to allow a patient to manually enter the characteristics of the pill, such as type, size, shape, color, and carving (if available). The app then searches through its digital database and displays a list of drugs with similar characteristics. Unfortunately, if there are several variants, the only thing a patient can do is look for the name of the pills they might have had in their medicine box.

The other option is easier to use but also more expensive to implement. Based on complex image analysis algorithms, the app will ask you to load an image from a pill and then search for a similar image in its visual database. Here, in case of obtaining some variants, a patient will be able to see the name of the drug and compare the images of a suggested pill with the pills which has, therefore, the highest chances of being accurately identified.

Summary

Medication applications can be a multifunctional tool with several functions that help patients manage medication intake. With a drug plan at its core, such an application can have other support functions such as reminders, drug interaction control, and pill identification algorithms, as well as pharmacy search and remote prescription renewal.

ScienceSoft patient applications

Create a patient app to put the ability to get in touch with caregivers and monitor your health status within reach of your patients.



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