This is the fourth and final post in our Medication Adherence series.
While pharmacists can provide valuable support in medication management, the ultimate goal is to enable patients to manage their medications independently. For seniors, the ability to successfully manage medications could allow them to remain in their own home vs. move into assisted living.
There are a number of digital tools that allow patients to take control of their medication regimen and remain independent.
Patients can become challenged when they’re required to take medications at different times of the day. A digital alarm can help. While an overall regimen may include a plethora of medications, digital alarms can serve as a reminder to take meds at the proper times. A digital alarm can come in the form of a watch, alarm clock, and automated pill dispenser. Patients can combine alarms with a multimedication blister pack or self-sorting pillbox to increase adherence.
Beyond digital reminders, there are a variety of apps for smartphones that enable patients to keep track of their medications. They can be downloaded for little to no cost and track everything from medication interactions and side effects, to the schedules for each specific medication.
Apps such as RxmindMe and MyMeds provide additional benefits such as tracking taken and missed doses and exporting this information to a healthcare professional.
Smart Pill Bottles
Smart pill bottle technology can detect when a medication is taken and transmit a report to the physician. It can also sense when a medication is missed and can trigger an alert to the patient in the form of a text, automated phone call or flashing and chiming of the bottle itself.
According to a webinar presented by expert pharmacist and researcher, Dr. Sharrel Pinto, adherence tools should be used additively to achieve optimal levels of adherence. With the help of their pharmacist, patients can implement these tools and avoid struggling with medication adherence.
Regardless of the type of tool used, the best outcomes come from creating a collaborative care team between patients, pharmacists, and prescribing physicians. In this model, clear communication across all levels allows the care providers to address any concerns the patient has about their medications, which helps to increase rates of adherence. When pharmacists fully understand the patients’ difficulties in managing their medications, they can arm the patients with the best tools to meet their needs.
We hope you enjoyed our series on tools for medication adherence. Please comment below with any tools you think should be featured in the future.
View our previous post on medication adherence here.