Three mHealth apps that are improving compliance and adherence

September 10, 2014 | Reply More

Improving medication compliance (taking medicine as directed) and adherence (remaining on a prescribed drug therapy) is a major goal of clinicians and health care providers. When patients forget to take their medication or fail to take it consistently, they risk their personal health, often resulting in increased financial costs to the health care system.

Smartphone alerts

Simple audio alerts are an effective way of alerting patients or caregiver that it’s time for the next dose of medication. With the prevalence of smartphones (some studies have shown that there are now more smartphones than personal computers in circulation through the U.S.), it’s easy to set one (or more) alarms to notify patients of medication times throughout the day. A study focusing on diabetic patients found that medical text reminders increased patient adherence by 10 percent and saved the system $812 per patient.

Wireless pill bottles

These devices monitor the number of pills left in the bottle and can send text or phone reminders to patients to take their medicine. Some studies using these methods have reported adherence rates as high as 95 percent. These bottles help correct reporting errors in traditional drug compliance and medication adherence (like refill rate) which aren’t as effective at indicating whether a patient actually took their prescribed medications.


Apps with games or other rewards for medication adherence provide psychological incentives for patients to participate. Studies analyzing apps and devices that give patients “rewards” for complying have found that patients’ adherence rises.


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