Between hypertension, blood thinner, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, anxiety, sleeping, pain, thyroid, Alzheimer’s, anti-biotic and antipsychotic pills, there’s no shortage of medications we have to manage.
Medication compliance is a serious problem – especially among older adults who battle with any number of difficulties from complicated medication regimes to blurred vision, poor memory or difficulty handling small tablets.
While over 181,000,000 Americans take prescription drugs, a full 50% are believed not to be taking their medications properly. That’s a dangerously high number when you think of the devastating effects - over 125,000 older adults die each year from improper use of their medications.
That’s the bad news. The good news? New medication organizers, reminders, alerts, planners, apps and dispensers are making huge inroads in the safer consumption of prescription drugs.
To come up with our rankings we reviewed, tried and researched a host of different medication compliance technologies, processes, services, apps and more. The result? A list of the best medication compliance devices available on the market today.
Best Medication Reminder App
A good medication reminder app will tell you when to take which medications - simply and accurately – and increase the likelihood you stick to your regimen without forgetting a dose. Before spending a fortune on a monitored solution, you might want to test to see if an app - who's basic versions are often free - does the trick.
Simple stuff, except there are hundreds of med reminder apps which complicate the uncomplicated. When looking to separate the best from the rest we focused on the following attributes: 1) Easy to enter the medications name, with auto complete 2) Has a picture of each pill 3) Easy to enter the times 4) Educates on each drug your taking 5) Let’s family & caregivers track compliance 6) Helpful rescheduling in event of missed doses 7) Lock-screen dismal reminder
Why It’s A Winner: MediSafe is our hands down winner as the best medication reminder app on the market today. It meets all 7 criteria above and so much more, making it more than a pill reminder alarm. The proof is in the pudding - it has over 3.7 million downloads and is now a Google App Editor’s Choice winner – meaning people download it, keep it and use it. Oh, and it’s free! Here’s why it gets top marks:
First, not only does it auto-complete your medications, but if you get your prescriptions from CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens or Walmart the app can upload your med list directly from the store’s account so you don’t have to enter anything at all.
The app also notifies you of dangerous drug interactions, so if you’re receiving prescriptions from different doctors, it can help act as an additional safety measure to avoid unintended side effects.
Medisafe will also let you know which side effects you should expect within the first 24-48 hours, so you wont panic.
Just as important as making sure you’re taking the right medications at the right time, MediSafe also reminds you when to refill your prescriptions, so you’re never missing your medication in the first place.
Medisafe uses machine learning and if it sees you’re missing a certain number of doses it can prompt you to call a nurses hotline. If you’re having trouble affording your medications, it can include your co-pay card in the program and suggest patient assistance programs for specific medications as well!
Another cool feature, is if your medication reminder pops up while you’re out of the house, you can press “snooze till home”, and then Medisafe will alert you again when you get home, tracking you on GPS.
Perhaps most importantly, the pill reminder is simple. The medication’s name pops-up on your phone screen, and you simply swipe it if it’s taken or indicate that you’re skipping or delaying the dose. A record will be kept and your family members or caregivers will be automatically notified if you wish as well – keeping you on the straight and narrow.
Best of all? It's FREE!
Best Remote Monitored Pill Box Reminder
Some 23% of seniors decide to go into a nursing home because they have difficulty managing their medications.
Fortunately newer medication management technologies are making it easier for seniors to stay home longer, by safely organizing, reminding, dispensing and notifying – so people take their medications on time without overdosing or under-dosing while keeping caregivers and family members in the loop.
These monitored medication dispensing machines have increased medication compliance to a 98% adherence level – with over 10% of doses taken after caregivers were notified that the patient was late taking their meds – offering caregiver relief and peace of mind.
When ranking these machines, we paid special attention to ensure they prevented double dosing, had an audible alarm, easy tray filling procedure, easy pill access, anti-pill jam design, at least 4 daily doses and offered remote monitoring and programming. Affordability was also a factor.
Why it’s A Winner: The MedMinder Jon is our winner for automated pill dispenser of choice. Other contenders were the Philips
Lifeline medication dispenser and the MedReady system. However, none offered the intuitive simplicity and safety precautions of the MedMinder Jon. Here’s why it’s our favourite:
First of all, MedMinder has a super offer on the table of $59.99 a month, with no contract, no charge for the equipment, free shipping, a 30 day money back guarantee and no hidden fees. Essentially it’s risk free to give it a try for the first month – give it
a shot, if you don’t like the system simply return it – there’s no downside, it’s essentially free for 30 days!!!
Second of all, of the three systems, only the MedMinder Jon actually has a call center that calls the patient if a medication reminder goes unanswered. If the patient doesn’t answer, only then are family members notified by phone, text, or email. This relieves some of the burden on family members to call their loved one if they get notified – especially if you work or have busy schedules. Of course family members and caregivers can still check online to confirm that medications were taken or not.
Third, MedMinder doesn’t require a landline or an internet connection. It uses cellular service, making it super easy to install in the location of your choice within your house – no need to place it near a phone jack.
Fourth, MedMinder has a super offer on the table of $59.99 a month, with no contract, no charge for the equipment, free shipping, a 30 day money back guarantee and no hidden fees. Essentially it’s risk free to give it a try for the first month – give it a shot, if you don’t like the system simply return it – there’s no downside, it’s essentially free for 30 days!!!
Fifth, MedMinder is the easiest of the three systems to load with medications. You can actually give your pharmacist the medication trays, which are organized in similar fashion to Dispill blister packs, and have them fill the tray themselves, avoiding errors on your end. Even if you don’t give the tray to your pharmacist, the tray is organized in similar fashion to most 7 day blister pack medication management systems, making it easy to transfer pills from the blister pack to the MedMinder tray.
Sixth, MedMinder offers an easy mechanism for seniors to remove medications, reducing the risk for drops. They don’t have to scoop out the medications from a small box, flip the dispenser upside down, or remove a cap from a flimsy plastic cup. You simply remove the hard plastic container, which has plenty of space for lots of pills and poor the pills into the palm of your hand.
Seventh, we like that MedMinder allows you to customize the reminder message and has a blinking light to catch your attention – this is helpful especially where hearing is an issue. You can even record your own voice to say, “Mom, time for your pills. Love you!” This is in contrast to many reminders that either beep in a frequency that is hard for some to hear, or gets mixed up with the sound of the phone or doorbell.
Lastly, we like that you can control the medication dispenser schedule remotely, online, through a very simply to use scheduling program. We’ve found that many pill dispensers that require you to set the schedule manually on the hardware itself are quite difficult to use (think old time VCR).
Best Pill Box Organizer
For those who don’t need supervision, remotely monitored medication dispensers are probably overkill. In fact, instead of going through the expense of an automated pill box, we’d recommend simply using the pharmacists 7 day medication planner blister packs, in combination with a free medication reminder app like Medisafe.
Most pharmacists offer free blister packs, like Dispill, which organize your pills by dose, by day, by week. Using this system prevents the risks associated with transferring your medications from the pharmacists packaging to your own pill box. There are several different types of pill organizers offered by pharmacists, and you should use the one that suits you and your pharmacist best.