Mobile Pillbox App Promotes Diabetes Medication Adherence: Report

The MediSafe Project released data showing that its mobile pillbox health app produced compliance rates of around 80 percent for patients taking type 2 diabetes medications.

MediSafe Project, which offers a medication adherence cloud-based mobile platform, has released data claiming a medication adherence rate of around 80 percent for patients relying on its mobile app for reminders to take their type 2 diabetes medication.

The app reminds users when they need to take medication and sends an alert to a family member, friend or caregiver if a dose is missed. MediSafe Project aggregates data on patient behavior and physician trends to study how patients take their medication.

When using the pillbox app, patients had 80 percent adherence when taking sitagliptin, a antihyperglycemic drug, and an 82 percent adherence with Januvia, a brand name version of sitagliptin, MediSafe Project reported on July 15.

Other results included 79 percent for diabetes drug Glucophage and 76 percent compliance rate with Kombiglyze, as well as a 78 percent rate for metformin, the generic version of those two drugs. MediSafe Project also reported a 77 percent compliance rate for patients taking Onglyza, another diabetes drug that helps control blood sugar.

"The results from these self-reported adherence rates prove that the combination of a mobile reminder and the support of family/friends works," MediSafe Project CEO Omri "Bob" Shor told eWEEK in an email.

Caregivers can monitor patient data from the company's cloud platform. When patients indicate that they've taken their medication, the app sends the encrypted data through a connection protected by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and stores it on servers compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The data is then synced back to the caregiver, Shor noted.

"The MediSafe Project provides users with convenience and routine by reminding people to take their medications, and tracking that they actually take them," Shor said.

Type 2 diabetes causes patients to be resistant to insulin and can be treated with oral medication.

Forgetfulness leads to 30 percent of medication nonadherence, according to Shor. Another problem is a lack of support from others, Shor said.

Despite the existence of products such as MediSafe Project, only 7 percent of caregivers use online or mobile tools to track how patients take medications and refill prescriptions, according to a June 20 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

MediSafe Project reported successful use of the app by caregivers, which are the company's "most retained users," Shor said.

"Over 18 percent of our users started using MediSafe Project by caring for patients or loved ones," Shor said, noting that caregivers then began using the app themselves after seeing successful use by patients.

Compliance rates were more than 26 percent higher for type 2 diabetic users when they used mobile technology than they were for general medication adherence to long-term therapies, MediSafe Project noted.

General medication adherence rates for long-term therapies were 50 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

Rates were higher with mobile tools due to the portability advantages, according to Shor.

"The engagement a person has with his/her mobile device is much higher than with their medication," Shor said. "The mobile device goes with him/her anywhere, and helps the patient manage his/her lifestyle. Using a mobile phone for medication reminders shows high results, while the caretaker/family connectivity mimics real-life family support, increasing the engagement even further."