Take two tablets and a selfie? Your doctor’s orders may one day include a smartphone video to make sure you took your medicine.
Smartphone apps that monitor pill-taking are now available, and researchers are testing how well they work when medication matters. Experts praise the efficiency, but some say the technology raises privacy and data security concerns.
Selfie medicine works like this: Open an app on your phone, show your pills, put them in your mouth and swallow. Don’t forget to show your empty mouth to the camera to prove today’s dose is on its way. Then upload the video proof to the clinic.
Fans say the technology addresses a big problem: About half of drugs for chronic conditions aren’t taken as prescribed because of cost, side effects or patient forgetfulness.
With treatment for opioid addiction, a skipped dose can mean a dangerous relapse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is funding research to tailor a smartphone app for those patients and see if they’ll use it.
“If we can keep patients engaged, we can keep them in treatment longer,” said lead researcher Dr. Judith Tsui of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
The next phase of her research will compare a group of patients who use the monitoring app called emocha (ee-MOH-kuh) with those who don’t to see if there’s a difference.
At one Tennessee treatment center, some patients with opioid addiction are already using the app to upload selfies of their daily dose and answer questions about how they’re doing.
“Every time they sign on, it allows us to capture data. Are they having cravings? Suicidal tendencies?” said Scott Olson, CEO of Dallas-based Pathway Healthcare, which is trying the app at its Jackson, Tennessee, site. “Maybe a phone call from a counselor might make the difference between staying clean and a relapse.”
Source: Mobile Tech Today