mHealth apps help with medication adherence

One of the critical challenges to the successful adoption of patient-centered healthcare is ensuring that the patient adheres to his or her medication requirements. This means taking the right mediation in the right dose at the right time, with the right outcomes.

The advent of mobile health technology, from SMS programs to interactive pillboxes to barcode scanning devices, gives physicians more power in assuring compliance. And with a lucrative market that not only includes physicians but also health plans, caregivers and large businesses, vendors are showing up on the doorstep with a wide array of new ideas.

[See also: Mobile health developers see bright future ahead.]

Among them is Southborough, Mass.-based SentiCare, which re-introduced its PillStation at last year’s HIMSS11 conference in Orlando, Fla., after receiving FDA approval and is now deploying the telehealth solution on a national level.

The PillStation is, for all intents and purposes, a “plug and play” device. It plugs into an outlet in the home, connects with a cellular, Wi-Fi or Ethernet hookup and offers real-time connectivity with the SentiCare Advisor Center. The system aggregates a patient’s prescription drugs and provides clear images of those drugs stored in their containers, allowing caregivers to determine, in real time, whether the drugs are taken in the right amounts and at the right time.

Company co-founder Jogendra Jain points out that many people living at home with chronic conditions take several different medications, “and it’s hard to get everything right.” And whereas as estimated 40 percent of all home-bound patients adhere to their medication regimens, he says, a study of some 3,000 PillStation users has so far returned a 98 percent compliance rate.

Moreover, Jain says, SentiCare offers a medication management program that doesn’t strain the resources of hospitals, physicians or other caregivers. Patients are monitored around the clock, and reports are issued on a regular basis by SentiCare.

“Medication adherence is not just people forgetting or not knowing what to take,” Jain says. “It’s really six or seven or 10 problems combined together. It requires not only a medication organizer but a medication manager, and one that can handle several medications.”

[See also: mHealth moving forward fast, experts say.]

Another vendor in the arena is Covectra, which offers serialization, authentication and track and trace solutions to ensure product integrity as well as adherence. Steve Wood, president and CEO of the Westborough, Mass.-based company, says the company’s solution not only help identify and trace counterfeit medications, but can also be used to track adherence and enforce discipline.

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