Mobile Health Around the Globe: MediSafe Helps Prevent Drug Emergencies
MediSafe Project just launched the first cloud-based mobile app for medication compliance, helping patients and their families avoid medication errors and emergencies. MediSafe, based in Haifa, Israel, is an app available for Android and iPhones that reminds users to take their medications and alerts family members when they don't.
Medisafe Project's co-founders started the company when their diabetic father overdosed on insulin and suffered an emergency. They understood that if family members could become more involved in a patient's medication regimens, it could help the patient safe.
“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.”
MediSafe also has big data implications for pharmaceutical companies and studies, including anonymous demographics, geolocation and patient behaviors as well as physician trends and other market aspects.
“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,” Shor says.
MediSafe has an easy-to-use interface. The homescreen is an interactive pillbox. Users can customize the look of different pills and drag them into the center "mouth" to signify taking the medication.
Users can type in the generic or brand name of the medication or take photos of the FDA's universal national drug code (NDC) number which is included on all 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.
Users also receive prescription refill alerts before medication courses are completed, allowing them plenty of time to order refills.
User privacy is protected. Syncing medication schedules is optional and usage statistics are completely anonymous.
Medisafe can increase medication compliance, keep patients safer and healthier and thus reduce hospitalization and mortality. It also allows families and friends peace of mind that their loved ones are following their medication regimen correctly. Please watch the video for more details:
Medisafe is available worldwide now as a free download in Google Play and iTunes App Store (preview edition). The Android version has already been translated into Spanish, German, Russian and French. In the next version, Portugese and Italian will be added. The iOS version is available only in English now, but in the next version, it will also be translated into the above languages.
Also and very importantly, in early 2013, the system will become accessible to people without smartphones, via an automated phone system. Patients will be able to record medication doses via touchtone, and caretakers will be able to receive alerts via incoming, automated calls when patients appeared to have missed a dose. This expansion should help a larger number of elderly patients and young children use MediSafe Project to keep their loved ones informed about their medication regimens.
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Joan Justice is currently the Senior Curator for HealthWorksCollective. She holds both a nursing and a graduate business degree, and has worked in domestic and international marketing management for several major healthcare corporations. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.