The intersection between technology and medication intake has the potential ability to alleviate barriers to medication nonadherence. Electronic medication adherence products use varying methods of connectivity and allow for remote monitoring of medication taking events. For example, some use NFC (near field communication) labels and GSM (global system for mobile communication) software. Such products include blister packages, pill containers, wearable sensors, inhalers, electronic medication organizers, and so on. Some of these products have the ability of data being exchanged and communicated between the user, the environment, and the manufacturer. Common features of these products include notifications, such as reminders, to be sent to the user via SMS (short message service) or email.
Notifications are an integral aspect of the products. These can be sent to the user, the healthcare provider, or the caregiver. Typically these are via SMS or through a mobile application. Some instances where notifications are sent can include if the user missed a medication dosage, for example. Alarms are another feature commonly found in these products. These visual, audible, and/or vibration alerts can be used to remind users when to take a medication. A few of these devices also have locking features which enable the healthcare provider to set up a specific time in which the user can access the medication. Majority of these devices are portable, increasing the ease of usage for the users to incorporate these devices into their daily life. Some of these devices do require a mobile phone alongside the device .
The peer reviewed paper “Development of a clinician guide for electronic medication adherence products in older adults” provides guidelines for clinicians in recommending electronic medication adherence products. The final guide consisted of 22 devices and the specific features of the products, and its ease of use were highlighted. The product specific features include the maximum number of alarms, number of days products can accommodate, price of device, monthly subscription, portability, and locking feature. Items measured under the category of ease of use include average time to set up device, number of steps to set device, unassisted completion, average usability, and average workload. These features can help older adults and healthcare providers to clinicians to recommend products based on the individual needs of the patient, such as the medications that they are on. Some features involve cognitive output from the user, while others do not.
Our research team is continuing to understand how people take medications at home. If you are an adult aged 65 and older with Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer's disease, we are interested in understanding the way you use and manage your medication(s), along with understanding your beliefs and behaviors around medication taking, and experience with any of any techniques, aids or technologies to help with medication intake. Please click here to fill out this survey!
Faisal, S., Ivo, J., & Patel, T. (2021). A review of features and characteristics of smart medication adherence products. Canadian pharmacists journal : CPJ = Revue des pharmaciens du Canada : RPC, 154(5), 312–323. https://doi.org/10.1177/17151635211034198