It’s amazing how easily people forget to take the medications that allow them to, you know, live. Pharmaceutical companies have literally manufactured pills that will solve many of our problems, but the simple act of removing medicine from its container and putting it in our mouths remains elusive. They should make a pill that helps people remember to take their pills.
MediSafe isn’t quite like that, but it’s close: It’s an iPhone and Android application that reminds users to take their medicine, no ingestion required. The company is today releasing the second version of its service, which allows users to create multiple profiles — so they could, say, track their child’s medications — and share how well they stick to their regimen.
“Low adherence is everyone’s problem,” says MediSafe CEO Omri Shor. These new features allow MediSafe users to involve others in their medicinal routines, whether that involves a parent monitoring their child’s medications, a physician seeing just how often patients are taking their pills, or family members keeping track of their loved ones.
MediSafe’s apps, which have been downloaded some 35,000 times, are available for free. The company plans to monetize by partnering with pharmaceutical companies, which have a financial incentive to make sure people take their medicine. These companies could get MediSafe in front of users or white-label the service for their own use, Shor says, and MediSafe is currently in talks with more than 10 pharmaceutical companies.
AdhereTech, a company that launched out of the Blueprint Health accelerator last October, is also working to help patients remember their medications. Unlike MediSafe, AdhereTech’s product uses sensors to collect adherence information without user interaction. This might seem like a small thing — how hard is it to launch an app? — but in practice it could provide a more accurate, independent audit of users’ medicine habits.
Both services will alert users or their loved ones if a pill hasn’t been taken, which gets back to Shor’s idea that adherence is everyone’s problem. MediSafe plans to launch an automated phone service at the end of this summer, which would allow the smartphone-less to use the service.
Our health, and the health of our loved ones, is important. There’s no reason for people to neglect their health or forget their medications if it can be avoided, and MediSafe is just one of several companies working to integrate modern technologies and medicine. It’s isn’t a magic pill that will suddenly make health easier to manage, but it’s the next best thing.