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Diabetes mobile app bolsters role of pharmacists in patient adherence

One of the most significant factors influencing healthcare costs is patient adherence or lack thereof. If diabetes patients don’t take their medications, watch what they eat and monitor their blood-glucose levels, they risk complications that can lead to hospitalization. A semifinalist in Sanofi US’ (NYSE:SNY) Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge, iRetainRx believes it can overcome […]

One of the most significant factors influencing healthcare costs is patient adherence or lack thereof. If diabetes patients don’t take their medications, watch what they eat and monitor their blood-glucose levels, they risk complications that can lead to hospitalization.

A semifinalist in Sanofi US’ (NYSE:SNY) Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge, iRetainRx believes it can overcome that challenge by providing a cloud-based system to help patients and caregivers connect with pharmacists and providers. Using a mobile device such as a computer, iPad or smartphone, they can get a video link to their pharmacist to get answers to questions and pharmacists can call attention to issues such as risky drug interactions.

David Parpart heads up iRetainRx, a business developed by his mobile technology company Socially Relevant Technology in Sunnyvale, California. Parpart said in response to emailed questions that the role of pharmacists and their interactions with patients when they pick up their prescriptions is one factor that commonly gets overlooked in the care of diabetes patients.

“We see an opportunity to support community pharmacists in doing what they do best — counsel patients and keep them safe,” said Parpart.

Pharmacists have been getting a bigger profile as drugstore chains boost the size of in-store clinics to administer vaccinations for influenza and whooping cough.

The company’s program focuses on four core areas of intervention to help patients set goals and reminders, log their progress and earn rewards for positive actions in four areas of intervention — medication, monitoring, nutrition and exercise.

In response to the issue of forgetfulness by patients, the app uses reminders to alert patients and caregivers to pick up medications.  It also relies on content from healthwise.org to help educate patients about their conditions.

The service is free for patients and small, independent pharmacies, although small pharmacies could pay for a premium service that would include billing, tools to communicate with prescribers and cloud-based software. Larger companies would pay initial integration costs and annual licensing fees.

A 2011 report to the surgeon general last year called for an increased role by pharmacists to deliver expanded patient care services to reflect the more integrated role they are asked to play in patient health.