Saturday, October 9, 2010

Keep treatment on track: medication management goes high-tech.(YOURHEALTH: TECHNOLOGY).

MEDICATION MANAGEMENT, originally uploaded by jenny.morros.
Free Diet Profile 468x60

ArabicChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)DeutchEspanolFrenchItalianJapaneseKoreanPortugueseRussian

A LIVER TRANSPLANT GAVE GREG DUGGINS a second chance at life-but it's medication that keeps his new liver going strong. Like all transplant patients, Duggins, age 55, of Garrison, New York, relies on a complicated regimen of pharmaceuticals to stave off organ rejection and infection. "When I got home from the hospital, I was taking 15 different drugs," Duggins says. Keeping track of them all is a daunting but crucial task, so Duggins uses his cell phone and computer to help.

Taking meds exactly as prescribed is essential to managing any chronic illness, yet according to the American Heart Association, at any given time, 59 percent of those taking five or more medicines are taking them incorrectly. The No. 1 problem in treating illness today is patients' failure to take medication as prescribed; 10 percent of all hospital admissions and 23 percent of all nursing home admissions are the result of incorrect use of prescriptions.


Technology-based management systems are helping patients and health care providers tackle one of the most common causes of noncompliance: forgetfulness. Most people today understand the importance of taking their medications, says Brian Morris, M.D., associate director of the UCLA Comprehensive Health Program. The challenge, he says, is "how to integrate that into your lifestyle." But the latest high-tech devices are more than simple reminder systems; they're powerful tools to help you improve your health and decrease health care costs.

How? Duggins uses a free system called MyMedSchedule. com, which includes an online list of his meds (with pictures) and text message reminders sent directly to his cell phone. "I didn't know a multivitamin from a steroid," Duggins says. "The list the nurses gave me had brand names, but the stuff I had was in generic names. MyMedSchedule literally held my hand until I understood what drug was what."

Duggins shared his user name and password with his sister, Linda, just in case. "That way, if anything happens to me, she knows what drugs I'm supposed to be taking," Duggins says. He can also print out reports to share with his health care providers.

A variety of medication management systems are currently on the market or in development. Take a look at some of the latest offerings.


Maya from MedMinder

What it is: A seven-day pillbox, with a twist. When it's time to take your meds, the appropriate compartment flashes. If you don't take your medication, you'll soon hear a series of beeps. If you ignore the beeps, a phone call reminds you to take your pills. Phone calls, text messages, and e-mail reminders can be sent to family members and health care providers as well, giving loved ones peace of mind and your physician accurate information about your medication compliance.

Cost: $49.95/month, which covers the device rental and service fee.

How it works: You (or your care provider) sort your meds into the appropriate compartments; Maya can handle multiple pills up to four times per day. You then program the unit by filling out the medication page at or by mailing or faxing in the medication list that comes with the system. Because Maya collects real-time data about your medication adherence, your physician will know, for instance, if you truly need a new blood pressure medication or simply need to take the one you've been prescribed.

Requirements: Electricity and available wireless coverage. If you can use a cell phone in your home, you're probably good.


Vitality GlowCap

What it is: A high-tech pill bottle cover. The GlowCap screws onto your regular pill bottle cover, but communicates electronically with a reminder light that plugs into an outlet near your medications. When it's time to take your meds, the reminder light flashes. Ignore the flashing and a series of musical tones is next. If you still haven't taken your reeds, you'll receive a phone call asking if you plan to take your scheduled dose. If the answer is no, a series of questions will try to determine your reasons and help you take appropriate action.

Cost: Currently, the GlowCap is only available through select pharmacies and for select medications. Vitality has partnered with pharmaceutical and insurance companies to offer the GlowCap to consumers, free of charge. It's an experimental program designed to measure the cost savings of medication compliance, which is potentially huge. Past research, for instance, shows that the health care costs of a diabetic patient with poor medication adherence is $16,000 per year, almost double what it costs to care for a diabetic who takes his reeds as prescribed. How it works: Replace any regular pill bottle cap with the GlowCap and plug the reminder light into a nearby outlet. Use a computer to program in your medication times. The cap and reminder light communicate wirelessly to let you know when it's time to take your meds. You'll also receive weekly and monthly reports of your medication compliance, a feature that's motivated many users to increase their adherence. The GlowCap can automatically contact your pharmacy to arrange for refills as well.

Requirements: Electricity. No computer or wireless service required.


What it is: An online health care reminder system.

Cost: Free--$9.99/month (depending on plan)

How it works: Log on to to create a personalized reminder system. You fill in the names of your meds and the correct dose time. RememberItNow! will send you e-mail updates, or, if you chose the paid plan, text messages to remind you to take your pills. You can also create appointment reminders and charts to track your medication intake or other personal medical data, such as blood pressure. Users can establish an online community and share their medical information with family members and health care providers.

Requirements: You'll need a computer and an Internet connection. You or a care provider will physically manage your medications by filling your pill organizer with the appropriate meals.

Source Citation
Fink, Jennifer. "Keep treatment on track: medication management goes high-tech." Saturday Evening Post Sept.-Oct. 2010: 70+. General OneFile. Web. 9 Oct. 2010.
Document URL

Gale Document Number:A236479838 USA, LLCget the best of the bestPersonalized MY M&M'S® Candies(Web-Page) Revival Soy: 100% Great Taste Guaranteed(Album / Profile)
leonard.wilson2009@hotmail.comShop the Official Coca-Cola Store!
ArabicChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)DeutchEspanolFrenchItalianJapaneseKoreanPortugueseRussian

No comments: