Patient Centric App Review Series

App Reviewed: My Pill — Birth Control Reminder v2.3
Last Updated: June 29, 2012
Compatibility:
iPhone, iPad
Requires:
OS 4.0
Reviewed on:
iPad

Goals of app review:

* Is this app capably designed to remind women to take their oral contraceptive daily (or use it for other birth control method reminders)?
* Can physicians recommend this app to help their unintentionally noncompliant patients?


Introduction:

This app reminds the user to take her birth control pill daily or to change other birth control types such as the NuvaRing or Patch through the use of an alarm system. It was designed by a company called Bite Art Mobile which has one other app on the market at this time.

App Specifics:

The app opens with a set of questions to determine what type of birthcontrol the user takes (pill, ring or patch), the time the patient wishes to be reminded, the start of the cycle period and other pertinent information.


The user gets a picture of a pill pack or (optionally) a calendar, from which she can document taking her pill by “pushing” on the pill or the date.


There is a History area to log previous pill packs taken and a Planner for managing calendar related events like buying new packs of meds, annual doctor visit, etc.

The Help area  is for troubleshooting the app, getting support, and medical support (with a disclaimer) if the user misses a pill.

Healthcare goals of app:

Some patients find it difficult to remember to take their oral contraceptive pills daily or change their patch or ring. This app aids compliance with an attractively designed interface that can be set with daily (or less, depending on the form of birth control chosen) alarms to remind the user to take their medication as directed.

Evidence to support goals:

Smartphone reminder apps for medication adherence are in clinical trials[1] with some positive results. In a study done by George Washington University with QUALCOMM, when patients used an app that reminded them to take their hypertensive medications, there was a trend toward increased refill rates[2].

Price:

  • $ – Basic App is free
  • $ – 3.99 for extended features such as a snooze on the alert, customizable number of active pills, seasonal themes for people on three month pills, customizable alert messages and password protection.

Likes:

  • Attractive interface
  • Easy usability for even less tech savvy individuals, though most individuals in the age group needing birth control are not likely to have trouble with this simple app.
  • Covers the most common types of birth control including the ring and patch as well as three month pills like Seasonique.
  • Regular updates since 2010
  • Easy access to send questions or problems
  • No snooze if user misses a pill (unless you pay for the upgrade)
  • No irritating ads in the free app.

Dislikes:

  • Pricey upgrade for password protection, “themes”, email reminder, and custom active pills if you are taking a pill with a different number of active pills then the usual 28.
  • This is more reasonably an iPhone app since most people would not have their iPad on them continuously the way a mobile phone is.

What providers would benefit from this app?

  • Primary Care Physicians
  • Pediatricians
  • Ob/Gyns

What patient would benefit from app?

  • Young women who need help remembering to take their pill or change their patch or ring.

Conclusion:

  • Simple app that utilizes a phone alarm to remind the user to take their birth control.
  • Pros–attractive, easy to use interface.
  • Cons–costs extra for pill packs containing a different number of active pills than 28.

Bottom Line:

Since missing birth control methods is an easy way to get pregnant, My Pill can be used as a tool to help young women remember to take their birth control pills or change their ring or patch when necessary. The app appears to be updated regularly and the free app is adequate for most users. What little medical advice the app has regarding missed pills is consistent with standard of care regarding missed pills[3]. Physicians and other healthcare providers can consider recommending this app to patients having difficulty with compliance with their birth control method.  

iTunes Link

References:

1. Clinical trials
2. Pillphone
3. Guilbert MD, E., Missed Hormonal Contraceptives:New Recommendations. No. 219, November 2008

Disclaimer:
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.