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 Medication Reminder, Organizer and Pill Dispenser
Some 23% of seniors decide to go into a nursing home because they have difficulty managing their medications. 50% don't take their medications correctly!
Fortunately newer medication management technologies are making it easier for seniors to stay home longer, by safely organizing, reminding and dispensing medications.
These monitored medication dispensing machines have increased medication compliance to a 98% adherence level – offering caregiver relief and peace of mind.
Why it’s A Winner: The Hero is our automated pill dispenser of choice. Other contenders were the Philips Lifeline medication dispenser, MedReady and MedMinder. However, none offered the simplicity, functionality and ease of use of the Hero for both user and caregiver alike. Here’s why it’s our favorite:
Easy to Program
The Hero requires caregivers to use a very simple mobile or desktop based app, with step by step instructions, to load medications and their schedule. The dispenser then uses that schedule to dispense medications at their appropriate times.
Easy to Load
The Hero is the easiest of the three systems to load with medications. Simply poor each medication from its original bottle into its designated container in the dispenser. The Hero can manage up to 10 different medications, with 90 pills each. That's it. The Hero will then sort and combine medications based on the schedule you uploaded on the app.
Easy to Use
The Hero 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 cup from the dispenser and poor the pills into the palm of your hand.
The Hero can remind users via a blinking light on the dispenser, an alarm, text and a phone call. Caregivers will also be notified if medications are not taken.
The Hero does a great job of letting caregivers know when their loved one was late, missed or was on time with their medications. The Hero will also notify caregivers when medications are running low and are near expiry.
The Hero is one of the most affordable medication dispensers available. At only $29.99 a month, a $99.99 initiation fee and a a 30 day free trial, it's designed for consumers. It’s risk free to give it a try and see if it makes a difference. If you don’t like the system simply return it at no cost.
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.