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The best medication reminder apps

The best apps to remind people to take their medications have been revealed by The George Institute for Global Health.

Researchers analysed 272 apps available in the Australian Google Play and iTunes stores and assessed them for a range of features including flexible scheduling, medication tracking history, refill reminders and their visual aids.

The top rating app was Medisafe which was awarded 20 out of a maximum 23 points and judged to be an advanced medication reminder. The average score for the advanced apps though was just seven points.

Among basic medication reminder apps, My heart, my life, was the highest scoring with nine points. However, the vast majority of the apps on the market were judged to be low quality.

Work already undertaken by The George Institute has found that half of all stroke and heart attack survivors stop taking their medications correctly within a year, and that simple interventions such as text-messages can be an effective tool in keeping them on their medication regimen.

However, little is known about these growing number of apps in terms of features, quality and effectiveness.

Researcher Karla Santo said they were surprised by both the large number of apps and that the vast majority were of low quality.

The PhD student with the Cardiovascular Division at The George Institute added:  “We think that consumers should be looking for a medication reminder app that is easy to use, that is interactive and customisable so that that the consumer uses the app according to his/her needs, that has good quality and trustworthy information from a reliable source and that has been tested and proven effective.”

The next step is to conduct a study to test the apps to evaluate if they are effective in improving medication adherence, as well as if patients find them useful and helpful to take their medication correctly.  This will be funded by a National Heart Foundation Grant.