Did you take your pills today? Did you? If you have forgotten to take your pills, or forgotten to get your prescription filled, you aren’t alone. Some studies suggest upwards of 75% of adults on prescription medications are non-adherent. Measuring the economic impact of failing to take medication properly isn’t easy, but studies suggesting the costs are into the billions of dollars annually are not unusual.
For some conditions, particularly chronic illness, adherence is especially important. I read an article on medication recently in which the author noted “Adherence to therapy is especially important for management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Chronic disease affects nearly one in two Americans and treating chronically ill patients accounts for $3 out of every $4 spent on medical care. In a recent commentary, Harvard University researchers remarked that poor adherence among patients with chronic conditions persists “despite conclusive evidence that medication therapy can substantially improve life expectancy and quality of life.”
Given the enormous impact of adherence on patient health and healthcare success, it is no wonder that a variety of solutions are being offered. These solutions include, amongst other things, digital or technological solutions. And they work. A New Jersey hospital recently released information on a small trial of 10 patients who were discharged and enrolled in a program to send them messages via texts to their phones. The result? Zero re-admissions.
Speaking of digital solutions, I had the privilege recently to speak with the CEO and co-founder of a medication adherence app that anyone can download for free to their iPhone. The app is Mango Health, and the CEO is Jason Oberfest. Please join me in welcoming Jason as we ask him a few questions about how Mango Health works?
1) Jason could you tell us a little about yourself and your career leading up to the creation of Mango Health?
Prior to founding Mango Health I was an executive at ngmoco– we were one of the first and became one of the largest iPhone and Android game developers.
2) What are the reasons that you decided to create Mango Health?
After spending two years at ngmoco I realized that we had really good perspective on mobile app development and game design that we could apply towards helping patients better manage and improve their health. Our expertise was in making mobile applications that millions of people wanted to use for very long periods of time, and we decided to apply that insight to the pressing issue of improving rates of adherence to medications and physician-prescribed treatment regimens as a first step towards better health.
* First, we give you a really simple way to enter into the app any combinations of prescriptions medications, otc medications and nutritional supplements you are taking.
* Once items are added, we deliver general information about the medications you have added as well as information about potential interactions between medications.
* We use game design principles and a points system to inspire you to stay on track with your treatment regimen.
* Over time we create a personal medical journal, a history of all medications and supplements taken and a simple way to record symptoms and side effects each day to use as a tool for discussion with pharmacists, physicians or other healthcare professionals.
4) Are there any fees or charges associated with the use of Mango Health?
No, Mango Health is a free mobile application that you can download on your phone.
5) Privacy is a significant concern today, especially when it comes to health information. How does Mango Health protect the privacy of their users?
That is a great question. We take privacy of our users very seriously. We actually take a fairly unusual approach in that we don’t require users to register to use the application.
6) Where is the Mango Health home office located?
We are located in San Francisco, CA, right in the Ferry Building.
7) So how can my readers begin to use Mango Health?
Right now the application is available for the Apple iPhone and iPad and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. We hope you enjoy the application!
Have YOU tried Mango Health? Why not download it and share your experience with us here at The Honest Apothecary?
Oh, one final question…