Understanding Medication Is Key
Every time you visit a pharmacy, you leave with a paper about your medicine. But sometimes, that paper is hard to understand, or it gets lost. But good news; there may be technology tools that can help with your needs. Today, mobile apps are stepping in to bridge this gap and simplify medication management.
The Rise of Health Apps
With the growth of smartphones and tablets, more people use health apps. In 2020, half of these apps were related to exercise, food, and lifestyle. The other half? They are helping people manage specific health conditions.
IQVIA, a healthcare analysis group, reported on the rise of health apps in recent years. In 2020, 47% of health apps helped with conditions like diabetes or heart failure. In 2015, this was only 28%. This means more people are looking to apps to help with their health. Health apps today provide a variety of assistance, from medication adherence with reminders and pill trackers, to offering clear and convenient drug information.
Top Apps for Health
Here are some top picks for a variety of health needs:
MySugr is a comprehensive app for individuals with diabetes. It helps with managing their condition by logging blood sugar levels, medications, and food intake. What sets it apart is its engaging cartoon guide, which gamifies the experience, making daily diabetes management more interactive and less monotonous.
RxLocal is a platform that connects patients to independent pharmacies, facilitating prescription refills, medication reminders, and direct communication with healthcare providers. Notably, it emphasizes the value of community pharmacies, ensuring patients receive personalized care and have easy access to trusted local pharmacists.
MediSafe is a robust medication management app that helps patients keep track of their pills, ensuring they take the right dose at the right time. Unique to MediSafe is its visual pillbox interface, replicating a physical pill organizer on the screen, which provides a user-friendly and familiar way for individuals to manage their medications.
There are other great tools out there too. TabSafe is a device that is the size of a coffee can that holds different pills. It can remind you when to take them and can even show your family members if you took them.
Spotlight on P3: A Game-Changing App for HIV PrEP
The P3 app was developed by experts at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. P3 is specifically crafted to support individuals taking HIV PrEP medication. It helps with adherence and allows individuals to stay informed about their care. Beyond this, P3 stands out by adding an interactive layer to the experience. Users can manage their medication schedule, play games, engage in informative chats. Users can even earn points that lead to rewards. This merges crucial healthcare management with engaging interactions.
The Challenges and the Future of Health Apps
While it’s exciting to see so many apps available to help us manage our health, there are challenges too. One of the biggest issues is how to keep people using the app over time. Just downloading an app isn’t enough. It needs to become a regular part of someone’s routine to be effective.
Why do people stop using health apps? Sometimes they can be too complicated, or users might not see immediate results. And let’s face it, some just are not fun or engaging. App developers are learning from these challenges. We can expect to see more apps that combine health management with fun activities or social connections.
Another important aspect is ensuring the information on these apps is trustworthy and up-to-date. As virtual care grows, it is crucial that the digital tools we rely on are safe and provide accurate advice. While we are in a golden age of health tech tools, there is always room for growth and improvement.
Mobile tools are changing the way we think about health. They can help you understand your health better, remind you to take your medications and even connect you with a community who share your experience. With the right app or tool, managing health can be a whole lot simpler.
Prepared by Melanie Busch, PharmD Candidate 2024
- “Prep? There’s an App for That.” HIV.Gov, www.hiv.gov/blog/prep-there-s-app/. Accessed 7 Sept. 2023.
- “Prepared, Protected, Empowered (P3).” Institute on Digital Health and Innovation, idhi.fsu.edu/prepared-protected-empowered-p3. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.
- Doyle, Amanda. “The 10 Best Diabetes Apps of 2022.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 31 Aug. 2022, www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/top-iphone-android-apps#A-quick-look-at-the-best-diabetes-apps.
- “Digital Health Trends 2021.” IQVIA, www.iqvia.com/insights/the-iqvia-institute/reports/digital-health-trends-2021. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.