Text reminders help seniors improve medication adherence

Seniors improved their medication adherence with cell phone text reminders, according to an announcement of a study from CareSpeak Communications. 

The Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, one of Southern California's largest not-for-profit providers of retirement living communities, teamed with New Jersey-based CareSpeak Communications, a mobile communications technology solutions provider, to pilot CareSpeak's mobile Health manager technology. The project featured customized texting services for medication alerts, diabetes and other chronic disease medication reminders, and medication tracking programs for seniors at Front Porch communities and neighboring senior centers. 

The "Minding Our Meds" pilot, a three- to five-month study, deployed CareSpeak Communications' mHealth platform, a two-way SMS-based medication reminder service that is available on virtually any smartphone or cell phone with a texting plan. As part of the pilot, pre- and post-intervention surveys were conducted to collect data to track medication adherence, user satisfaction with the technology, and overall health and wellbeing.

Of those seniors who participated in the study, 66 percent found that the CareSpeak system made it easier for them to keep track of their medications. Forty-eight percent either agreed or strongly agreed that their health issues were better controlled. 52 percent either agreed or strongly agreed that they would use CareSpeak or a similar texting program in the future to remain on track with medication adherence.

"The average older adult takes more than four prescription medications and two over-the-counter drugs per day, with forgetfulness cited as the most common reason for not appropriately adhering to proper medication intake," said Davis Park, director, Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, in a written statement. "Good collaboration efforts with CareSpeak on the pilot helped older adults and their caregivers change behavior, keeping seniors healthy, independent and more connected to their support network." 

In related news, Israeli startup MediSafe Project announced in January that use of its free app has resulted in patients taking their medication on time at a 31 percent higher rate than the World Health Organization's estimated average medication adherence rate of 50 percent. Launched in November 2012, the MediSafe Project is touted as the first mobile "pillbox app" that cloud syncs users' failure to take medication on time to their friends, family and caretakers. Users of both the Android and iOS versions of their app recorded taking over 100,000 medication doses as directed.

To learn more:
- read the announcement