Staying adherent to your medication plan and remembering the important information about all the drugs you take can be difficult if there's more than one medication in your daily schedule, or if you care for several other persons with their own medication lists.
Having a smartphone makes things a little bit easier. There are a growing number of mobile apps available to help improve medication adherence. However, many of those medication reminder apps lack important features and quality, so patients and caregivers should find themselves in trouble when trying to choose the right one.
We already reviewed couple of high-quality medication adherence and reminder apps, such as Medisafe Pill Reminder app, which is one of the best medication adherence apps for Android and iPhone, or Med Helper app, a simple medication reminder, tracker and organizer.
There's also CareZone app that does not only work as medication reminder and management app, but also help caregivers to stay on top of doctors' instructions and important health information.
Another advanced app with the ability to record and track taken and missed doses that also provides high-quality information from a credible source is MedicineList+ app. It is developed by National Prescribing Service MedicineWise, an independent not-for-profit organization, focusing on patients and caregivers in Australia.
This app includes a comprehensive and easy to use medication reminder system that takes the stress out of managing medications, whether of your own or those in your care.
First thing to do upon starting the app is adding a profile. You can add just your own profile or multiple profiles if you're a caregiver. This action doesn't require too much information, only a name, birth date and gender. For the purpose of this review, I've created only one profile, but you can add other profiles at any time by simply tapping on plus symbol.
After creating your profile you'll be taken to the dashboard featuring four basic options: Medicines, General Health, Reminders, and Notes.
Adding the medications would probably be the first thing that many would do. Tapping on Medicines icon would display a message that medication database is being updated. So I would like to give you a heads up about this.
The app uses mobile network for downloading database and it's enabled by default. This could result in extremely high charges (depending on your operator), so the first thing you should do is disabling 'Update over mobile network' option in app's settings, or turning it off in your device settings before starting the MedicineList+ app. The app would then use your WiFi and there would be no unwanted charges.
After the database has been downloaded, you'd receive a notification and you could start adding medications. Or you can first add some information into General Health section, including possible allergies and reactions to medications, known health conditions, measurements and tests (blood pressure, INR, height, and weight), and details about health professionals.
Some of this information, for example about your conditions or your doctors can be added via Medcines section.
Adding medications is simple and intuitive. You can use built-in barcode scanner that utilizes your phone camera and scan the barcode from the packages. However, while it works quickly it doesn't have practical effect unless you're from Australia, because it can't recognize barcodes from other countries.
You can, of course, add medications manually by searching for either brand or generic name. But, again, searching the brand names might be ineffective, because of unavailability of certain brands in Australia, although some brand names match, for example Lipitor (Atorvastatin).
I would suggest searching by generic name or ingredient that would list all known brand names for particular drug. The search option has auto complete option that helps users add entries and find medications much easier.
Also, it's possible to add custom medications, not only those listed in the app, which makes the app useful even for those users not living 'down under.'
The next step after finding medication is choosing its strength. This part is simplified because each medication has suggested strengths, usually in mg (5mg, 10mg, 250mg, 500mg, etc.), which depend on the type of medication. Of course, users can add their own strengths, or skip this step if unsure about it.
After that, you should add dose and frequency (i.e. 1 pill once a day, week, every 8 hours, etc.), and optionally notes, for example how you use your medications (with or without food), and reason for use, which basically links to 'Health Conditions' section.
The main purpose of MedicineList+ app is to help you stay adherent to your medication regimen, so you can enable reminders when setting doses and frequency. The reminder option would send you notifications at the times you need to take your medications.
Users can manage their reminders in 'Reminders' section, if they want to edit times, mark when they used medication, to remove the reminder, and so on.
All medications you add are listed in 'Medicines' section. Tapping on a medication will take you to Medicine Details page where you can add or edit details, or view consumer medicine information linking to NPS MedicineWise resources that provide exhaustive information about particular medication, including use, mechanisms of work, warnings, interactions, side effects, product description with images of medications, etc.
These CMI leaflets can be downloaded as PDF, and they also include health lines that consumers may call and talk to professionals. Of course, if you added custom medications, CMI won't be available, so users may miss important information about the medications they use.
All important questions and issues could be discussed with healthcare professionals that users could add in MedicineList+ app. The app also allows users to set contacts to be called in case of emergency, and to add detailed health cards, which is particularly useful for caregivers.
All these features make MedicineList+ app a well-rounded tool, although somewhat limited by a lack of drug brand names outside the Australia.
Despite this, many users will find MedicineList+ app useful, whether they need to manage their own medications, or to keep track of multiple patients and their medicine schedules.
Benefit: Patients and caregivers, particularly those located in Australia