Mobile health as a health and wellness strategy.

Medication management is a staggering problem: 91% of persons age 57 to 85 take at least one medication weekly, and improperly taking medications as prescribed costs an estimated $290 billion in avoidable medical spending. One of the leading causes? Forgetfulness.

With funding support from the Center for Technology and Aging, The Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing conducted a study with researchers from the UCSF School of Nursing’s Institute for Health & Aging to address medication adherence among active, independent older adults using a mobile solution.

The “Minding our Meds” pilot study explored a two-way SMS messaging service from CareSpeak Communications to develop an mHealth SMS Texting program.  Its programmable website dashboard customizes alerts to individuals including medication name, day and time of the alert, dosage, and refills. Through community trainings, education, and technical support, the program engaged 105 older adults from 14 senior living communities and other community organizations over a 3-5 month period. Average responses to self-reported medication adherence questions improved between baseline and follow-up, and self-reported satisfaction measures among participants at follow-up were positive, most reporting that the program made it easier to keep track of medications

Through surveys and focus groups, participants provided valuable insight into the usefulness of the intervention and the challenges they faced. Age, cognitive ability, and technology comfort levels were all important factors that shaped an individual’s experience with the medication adherence program, and the findings of this initiative indicated that a cell texting reminder program is a viable and affordable solution for medication adherence for older adults.

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