Throughout the world, there is a big issue with patients correctly sticking to their medication plan. In fact, some studies suggest that patients take their prescribed medication incorrectly anywhere from 25%-50% of the time. This is a hugely unsettling number and the reason why so many people are getting sicker, not getting better, and not seeing results after visiting the doctor or other healthcare professional.
Perhaps even more unsettling is the fact that about 10% of the hospitalizations of senior citizen comes from the fact they are not taking their medication in the proper way. This is also known as medical non-adherence.
However, there is also another major issue that comes into play when it comes to medication adherence. It is the fact that there is not a lot of reliable data for medical professionals and scientists to look at when it comes to seeing if patients are taking their medications correctly. It is hard for professionals to truly tell if a patient is taking their medication as instructed when there is no reliable and concrete information to go on.
Without this reliable information to paint a correct picture of what is actually happening, it is going to be nearly impossible to solve the issues of medication non-adherence across the entire world population. And with more than 125,000 deaths per year due to not taking medications correctly, something must be done to rectify this issue.
How Can We Solve Medication Non-Adherence?
While there is a lot to figure out about medication non-adherence in patients, there are a few successful strides being made to help solve the medication adherence issue. One of the ways this issue is being solved is through medication adherence platforms.
Medication adherence platforms are platforms, such as apps on a smartphone, to help patients stick to their correct medication routine. These platforms can be fully customizable for patients, let them know when to take their medications, if they have taken them already, if they forgot, and much more. That information can then be sent to their doctor, so the doctor can also track and monitor if they are patient is taking their medications the way they should be.
Apps for smartphones are one popular and easy to use medication adherence platform. Apps can send alerts to the patient on their phone when it is time to take their medications. They are able to record the history about the medication habits, like if they took them on time, if they missed any doses, and more. This type of platform is popular because the apps are often free and are of no cost to the patient. However, the main issue is that a patient can mark they took the medication when in reality they did not. These apps are often standalone and not connected to an integrated product, so it makes it hard for the information to be absolutely reliable and for doctors to actually see and track medication adherence.
Smart Pill Bottles
A better way to track medication adherence is through the use of smart pill bottles. These pill bottles are able to track when a patient actually takes their medication due to the sensors placed in the cap of the bottle. It can sense when they open the bottle and can sense if the weight of the bottle is lighter (as they take out the pill to take their dose.)
These smart pill bottles are often connected to a phone app, which tracks and stores all of the information. This information and data that is collected can be sent to medical professionals and doctors to analyze.
Again, one issue with this tracking is a patient can take the pill out of the bottle, but it does not necessarily mean they took the pill. Furthermore, if a patient is taking multiple medications, these smart pill bottles can add up in cost and be out of reach for many patients.