By Patricia Prewitt
Consumer Education Advocate
Our world has simply exploded with digital tools that track all sorts of things, including statistics that are related to health, fitness, and of course, medication adherence.
Not everyone loves digital tools, yet they can provide useful insights for managing a chronic disease or condition. Below are a few that may be worth investigating. These all have user-friendly free versions with robust features. Many offer an upgraded paid version with even more features at prices ranging from $4.99 to $9.99 a month.
MediSafe App: MediSafe Medication Management is a free medication tracker ranked #1 by pharmacists, physicians, and patients. This digital health company was formed in 2012 by two brothers who were concerned when their Dad, a diabetic, took an incorrect dose of his medication. It has now grown to be the largest medication management platform in the world, with more than seven million users. The company strives to be socially responsible, and makes its platform with key features available free of charge. It does generate income through its paid subscription platform and from partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare organizations.
There is an option to create additional accounts for other people. This may be useful for caregivers and adults helping others. Medisafe advises that it is HIPAA compliant, and uses 256-bit data encryption. Rating: 4.7 stars.
Testing it: I found the iPhone version app very easy to use. It allowed me to add over-the-counter supplements, and did not ask me to create an account with a username and password, which surprised me. Creating a profile with a username and password is required to take advantage of more free features, and to create links to your electronic medical records and medications lists from providers.
Bearable App: The founder of this app struggled with migraines and developed this platform in 2016. Based in London, this app now tracks all types of medical symptoms and can integrate habits such as sleep and exercise. The free version has a wide variety of usable features, including graph formatted weekly reports. The Bearable App uses a 1-5 symptom scale, and has excellent transparency regarding the company mission and privacy controls. Rating: 4.7 stars.
CareClinic.io app: Started in 2019 by tech gurus, this app is designed to align with traditional clinical symptom trackers and disease protocols. The symptom tracker is scaled 1-10, with three preset symptoms based on the disease diagnosis. This app uses a more “top-down” clinical approach. It’s a bit harder to understand which features are free. The paid subscription version offers more versatility, including journaling and a sharing option. Rating: 4.6 stars.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of apps. These are ones I am familiar with, and offer useful, no-cost versions with features to support healthy living. I would love to hear from you about any medication app favorites that you may use!
What should I be concerned about when using a health app?
Personal health data is being recorded; that’s part of what makes them so useful. However, as with all things digital, privacy may be a concern. Each app will have settings for privacy, and it is worth knowing how your data may be used for marketing purposes.
For example, if you are tracking diabetes symptoms, A1C numbers, and medications, you may find that you are receiving ads for diabetic supplies, for sugar-free candy, or for delivery of healthy “diabetic friendly” meals. Arguably, these may be products that interest you.
About the Author: Patricia Prewitt is a local Massachusetts resident who spent over 30 years in
the pharmaceutical industry. Tricia is a consumer education advocate, and loves helping people find ways to save money on their prescriptions. More information and free resources are available on her website at https://mypersonalrxadvisor.com or call her at 508-507-8840. Favorite Quote: “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James