'Minding our Meds' initiative to aid seniors via text message

By Molly Merrill
01:47 PM
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A project that aims to increase medication adherence in seniors via text message reminders has been awarded a $77,150 mobile health grant.

The grant was awarded by the Center for Technology and Aging to the Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing for its “Minding Our Meds: Demonstrating Senior Medication Adherence with Cell Phone Texting Reminders” project.

The project addresses medication adherence among active, independent older adults using a cell phone texting service, and focuses on 150 adults, over the age of 50, living across Front Porch communities and neighboring senior centers.

“This project is about keeping seniors healthy, independent and connected. To the extent that a simple and widely available communication tool can help accomplish this makes it that much more powerful,” said Davis Park, director of the Front Porch Center.
 
The goals of “Minding Our Meds” are to demonstrate that mobile alerts and monitoring lead to improved medication adherence in chronic disease management and to create a replicable and sustainable model for using an mHealth technology solution for medication adherence.

To improve medication adherence, “Minding Our Meds” will deploy CareSpeak Communication’s mHealth platform, a two-way SMS-based medication reminder service that is available on virtually any cell phone or smartphone device with a texting plan, and conduct pre- and post-intervention surveys to collect data to track medication adherence, user satisfaction with the technology and overall health and well-being.

"With the aging population trend in the USA, it is important to create simple, affordable, yet effective tools to help seniors and their circle-of-care manage the seniors' health and wellness better,” said Srdjan (Serge) Loncar, CareSpeak’s founding president and CEO. “Medication therapy compliance, monitoring of biometrics, patient education play a significant part in improving health and quality of life for seniors, and CareSpeak's mobile health platform helps seniors achieve that. CareSpeak's platform, using a ubiquitous, inexpensive technology, helps keep people out of the hospital, connected to their circle-of-care and living independently."
 
“Minding Our Meds” will also develop a replicable model that combines education, training and Web-based resources with lessons and techniques that can improve medication adherence. 

The project will work with, One Economy's Digital Connectors program, which identifies talented young people, immerses them in technology training, and helps them build their leadership and workplace skills to enter the 21st century economy, as part of its community service projects to provide training in showing older adults how to set up and access CareSpeak accounts through its Web-based dashboard.

“This initiative just scratches the surface of the power of the 21st century technology as well as the role that mobile applications will have in improving health,” said Kelly Dunne, president and CEO of One Economy Corporation. “One Economy believes it is important to meet people where they are in terms of technology, and that includes engaging seniors. Developing mobile applications with a purpose helps us meet the needs of a growing population who rely on mobile phones to access information.”
 
“Given that 91 percent of persons age 57 to 85 take at least one medication weekly, we understand the importance of finding widely available and affordable solutions that can be tailored to meet seniors’ needs,” added Kari Olson, president of the Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing.

“Working with great partners like CareSpeak Communications, UCSF, Sprint, One Economy and the Front Porch family, we are excited about adapting the use of everyday mobile technologies like cell phone text reminders to support the medication management needs of active, on-the-go seniors," said Olson. "This is what the Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing is all about – finding ways to creatively apply technology as a tool to help individuals live life their way."
 
The Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing will work with Brooke Hollister, an assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco’s Institute for Health and Aging, to develop an evaluation plan that will measure the outcomes of the project.
 
"Poor prescription drug adherence can lead to unnecessary illnesses, disabilities, premature deaths and estimated healthcare costs of $290 billion per year,” said Hollister. "The 'Minding Our Meds' project is an opportunity for researchers to work together with the Front Porch Center and the seniors they serve to potentially improve prescription drug adherence through the use of an innovative new technology. Should this study find drug adherence improved, the implications for the lives of those struggling with adhering to prescription drug regimens is great."