Health IT, Patient Engagement

MedaCheck says its platform can double medication adherence in teens

Giving adolescents and young adults with chronic headaches access to an app and reminder calls for medication adherence doubled their rate of taking their meds as prescribed, according to preliminary results of a small study at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Medacheck

Giving adolescents and young adults with chronic headaches access to an app and reminder calls for medication adherence doubled their rate of taking their meds as prescribed, according to preliminary results of a small study at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. MedaCheck, a Cincinnati-based startup that makes a medication adherence platform, supplied the technology.

MedaCheck incorporates a progressive reminder system through a mobile app and, mostly for older users, a custom-built tablet that was designed for ease of use. As with many other medication adherence programs, patients get alerts when it’s time to take a medication.

After an hour — or other time specified by the prescribing physician — the patient receives a phone call. If there’s no response to the call, a caregiver or clinician gets contacted to remind the patient.

The study group of 35 included patients aged 12-20, a demographic that, not surprisingly, has a hard time with medication adherence. Baseline adherence rates were in line with the national average for the general population of 42-43 percent, MedaCheck CEO Jeffrey Shepard said.

After six months, those who had access to the app only took their meds on time, as prescribed, 60 percent of the time. That figure jumped to 85.4 percent in a group that had both the app and reminder calls, according to data supplied by pediatric psychologist Kevin Hommel of the Center for Adherence and Self-Management at Cincinnati Childrens.

The hospital placed a total of 1,294 calls to patients and 581 to caregivers during the six-month study period.

“The results of the study are really off the charts,” Shepard said. He did say, though, that other MedaCheck customers have seen similar improvements.

“Based on these results, we feel there is substantial promise with the MedaCheck application and its use in pediatric clinical populations. Moreover, the combination of automated technology with personal connection via the call center is a unique and, seemingly, value-added aspect of your application,” Hommel said in a June letter to Shepard.

Cincinnati Children’s eventually will submit a paper for peer review, Shepard said. He added that the hospital has since expanded its use of MedaCheck to the pharmacy and oncology departments.

Poor medication adherence costs the U.S. at least $100 billion annually, and likely much more.

Photo: Medacheck