Whether you have a regimen of 10 medications, or you are caring for 10 family members each with their own regimen, MediSafe (@MediSafeProject) streamlines all of those cumbersome lists and spreadsheets of medications into an easy-to-use, flexible, synchronizable app — combining the useful features of Mint.com, a supercharged alarm clock app, Google Now, and Facebook — that works well both offline and online.
MediSafe, a freely-available app for Android and iOS, tackles the medication adherence problem. The company claims — based on their internal data — that adherence increases to an average of 86%, compared to the average 50% adherence rate for the general population; as an aside, we hope that will be validated in peer-reviewed clinical studies soon.
Review of MediSafe for iPhone, iPad, and Android
The value in MediSafe is for families and caregivers. The app can sync among family members’ apps and alert each other if one person misses their medication or decides to skip their, say, valproate for the day. MediSafe is useful especially for caregivers managing numerous family members, each with their own profile.
The user interface is one of MediSafe’s strengths. MediSafe is very easy to use, and very flexible with partial data: if you don’t wish to enter in the dose or frequency, you don’t have to. Have a medication that’s not in their database? No problem. If you want to enter in medications to take either scheduled or as needed, it will let you do just that. Customizable icons and attractive graphs show how frequently you take medications, and how often you remember to. And MediSafe’s interface is designed to play very well with Android, complete with a home screen widget, sound notifications, LED notifications, and vibration settings. The company even has plans to reach out to users unaccustomed to smartphone apps with a planned touchtone phone menu system and SMS text messaging interface, slated for release this year.
The app partially works offline. Taking medications still works, as does using charts. However, if you are in airplane mode or you have no data plan, auto-completion of medication names does not work. Attempting to add/edit profiles or Med-Friends displays cryptic error messages.
MediSafe includes a news feed that is supposed to show video clips and tips on how to manage one’s condition. It’s not immediately obvious when using this app how this would be helpful; even though the company states that it will show patient education and health tips based on the patient’s condition, there is no way of entering in one’s conditions manually, which would be particularly helpful for medications with more than one indication. Am I taking lithium for bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or leukocytosis in the setting of clozapine-induced agranulocytosis? Or amoxicillin for my gastric ulcers, skin infection, or infective endocarditis? It’s not clear if the system has a way to know the diagnoses for why I may be taking a particular medication.
Does it play well with other systems?
MediSafe supposedly is able to integrate with electronic medical record systems and even pharmacies. However, the company produces special branded versions for paying hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and pharmacies, with APIs available for such integration. It’s not clear whether a patient can link it themselves with their medical record or their pharmacy. That’s a shame, because this kind of information is freely available for many patients in Blue Button format.
MediSafe plays very nicely with the popular Android Wear smartwatch platform. The app alerts you on your Android Wear watch on which medication to take, and gives you an option to either “take” the pill or “snooze” the alert. There is otherwise no way to bring up a list of medications on your watch, view the Medisafe News Feed, or view other details of the medication regimen you are taking. It is a great start, however. In a way, this is the first medical app available on Android Wear.
MediSafe supposedly claims to integrate with wearable devices, but aside from its Android Wear app, it’s not obvious whether it plays with other Bluetooth-enabled or WiFi-enabled devices on its Android app. It gives you an option for manually entering in calories, weight, blood glucose, temperature, and pulse, but otherwise, options for charting other types of values are sparse.
- User interface is attractive, easy to use, uses consistent Android OS interface
- Numerous ways of reminding, including Android Wear, Android’s standard notifications system via vibration, sound, LED
- Can chart & graph weekly adherence rates and export to Excel spreadsheet
- MedFriend feature allows family or friend to help users remember to take their medications
- Has an Android widget for the home screen
- Allows you to track others’ medications as a caregiver
- Requires manual entry of data: no integration with wearable devices to track things such as weight or blood pressure
- Android Wear compatibility limited to notifications, with no corresponding on-screen app showing medication lists or adherence rates
- The publicly-available app is geared towards end-users with no way to access records from their health system or pharmacy
- Unclear how patient education material is tailored when the app provides no way to enter in conditions or diagnoses manually
Recommended for any patient or caregiver that wants to keep track of their medications. Recommended for doctors who want to replace their patients’ paper medication lists with a more sophisticated, friendly smartphone app. As a physician, I’m hoping apps like MediSafe continue on a trajectory to not just make medication non-adherence an issue of the past, but to actually make medication adherence an easy-to-use, pleasurable experience with an evidence guiding implementation and maximizing impact.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
The app integrates nicely with standard Android user interface conventions, including widgets, notifications, and even Android Wear compatibility. However, no integration with wearable devices, medical records, or pharmacies other than Android Wear.
- Multimedia Usage
The graphics and diagrams are useful and convey information in an attractive way; however, it’s not clear how one can access video clips and multimedia content.
Freely available with cloud synchronization features.
- Real World Applicability
One of the few apps that tracks medications well, although it’s not clear how one can import existing prescriptions or export their data, aside from manually entering medications one by one.
- Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad