Overall App Summary:
MediSafe is a well designed mobile app and is intended for patients who are on multiple medications for chronic diseases and who have a hard time complying with their prescription medications. The app has a number of features, including medication reminders and patient education videos. The app integrates with smartwatches, which can be a nice feature to remind patients to take their medications and record medication events. An important feature is the ability to add a “MediFriend” who can help monitor and encourage adherence. The app is currently free and does not require a subscription for its services; however, data is shared with third parties such as analytic services, such as for market/customer analysis. Finally, they have done some retrospective analysis and have shown that the MediSafe app and its various features increase medication adherence; however, the study design/ quality were poor.
App’s Intended Use:
The MediSafe is intended to be used by patients who are on prescription medications for a medical diagnosis (for e.g. high blood pressure or diabetes) to help them improve their rate of medication adherence. The app is also intended to be used by family members or loved ones (caregivers) of patients who are on medications.
Who’s this app most useful for?
The MediSafe app is most useful for patients who are on multiple medications for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and who have a hard time complying with their doctor’s recommendations regarding taking their prescription medications.
How should one use it?
I would advise my patients to download the app and first, create a login so that can maintain privacy. Next, they should manually enter all their medications and the appropriate dose and frequency into the app and set up reminders for times that are convenient and coincide well with their lifestyles. This will allow them to form a habit over time. Next, they should consider enrolling a caregiver as a third party that can check in on them and make sure that they don’t miss important medications. Of course, this option will only be relevant to those patients who do not mind sharing their medical information and their medication information with loved ones.
Why should anyone use this app? Is it clinically relevant?
Yes, the MediSafe app is definitely clinically relevant, as 50% of patients do not take their medications as recommended by their healthcare provider. Medication non-adherence leads to access morbidity and mortality and poses a huge financial burden on the healthcare system. There is some data in the literature that shows that medication reminders can increase medication adherence rates, and there are clear clinical benefits to increasing medication adherence. As a practicing clinician, I would really like to have objective evidence of true medication adherence rates, as it will have a significant impact on how I interpret clinical data and how I decide to manage their medical condition. It is not uncommon that doctors make adjustments to medication doses or switch medications purely based on a subjective assessment of medication effectiveness (based on a patient’s word).
Is there any published evidence that the app actually works?
The company did conduct a few different retrospective analyses of its users and reports online (on their website) that MediSafe app users had a higher medication adherence rate as compared to WHO published rate of 50%; that MediSafe users that enroll in the MediFriend program also have a higher medication adherence rate, and finally, that MediSafe users with high blood pressure had a statistically significant reduction in blood pressure, after using the MediSafe app. Of note, all of these analyses are retrospective and conducted on MediSafe users only. Importantly, the reviewer is not aware of any randomized controlled clinical trial, where a patient randomly assigned to MediSafe app versus usual care and then followed their medication adherence rate (or medication possession ratio) as well as some clinical outcome or surrogate biomarker (such as LDL or HgbA1c) over time to truly assess the clinical effectiveness of the MediSafe mobile application.
Not FDA cleared, but exempt under MMA guidance — discretion
What is the most important/ desirable feature of the app?
Medication reminders and medication dosing schedule with pictures of the medication and the educational videos highlighting the importance of the medications.
How would you compare this app to others in its class?
Where Medisafe stands apart from the competition is their focus on a ‘Medfriend’ who can also track the users progress and help support them. This added feature adds some engagement, but relies on motivated outside parties to also keep track. Another beneficial feature is the ability to import a users medications from a health system which could help with medication reconciliation (this feature was not tested in this review). Integration with the EHR provides additional features such as integration with GoodRx (a drug coupon app), refill reminders, ability to record notes and lab values, and provider contact information. Other valuable additions include pictures of the actual medications and informative videos on medications in the patient’s drug list. For example, upon addition of Atorvastatin, a short video (<2min) was available to watch that reviewed the medication. Additional engagement features (e.g. gamification, social media) may be needed to keep users from eventually losing interest in the app.
If there’s a paid version, is it worth the upgrade?
Security and Privacy
Data Security: Policy in Settings tab
Data Sharing: Policy in Settings tab