When a patient forgets to take their medication, or takes it at the wrong time, it can hamper their treatment or even delay recovery. Their treatment then becomes more expensive and time-consuming for them and their doctor.
The last few years have seen the rise of smartphones, and with it, the opportunity to send reminders. The most well-known way to do this is via text message. These have been proven to be an effective way to reduce patient no-shows. However, they’re expensive. It isn’t scalable for most healthcare providers to do this as a way to send prescription reminders to patients.
However, there is an alternative.
Calendar notifications can be sent – for free – via a patient’s calendar. These work even if the patient has no cell reception, and automatically adjust to a new time zone should a patient travel abroad.
Here are just some of the ways in which software applications and patients’ calendars can work together to send patient prescription reminders.
Patient management systems
Patient management systems help healthcare providers to track every stage of a patient’s journey. Adding calendar sync to these makes it even easier for them to do this.
When a patient’s calendar is connected to patient management system, reminders can be sent via their calendar, notifying them to take their medication. Should they need to increase or decrease their dosage, reminders can be updated as soon as their medical record changes.
Sometimes, patients need a prescription but may not need to see a doctor. Calendar connectivity means that patients automatically have their treatment plan to hand whenever they need it.
Reminders can also be set up to remind a patient to order their repeat prescription when they start to run low. For instance, if a patient has a 30-day supply of tablets, when they have a week or so left, they can be reminded to order some more. This ensures that they order it in plenty of time and therefore never run out.
Connecting patients’ calendars to patient management systems saves doctors, nurses, and administration staff time. Doctors and nurses don’t need to spend as long talking patients through their prescription, as it can all be found in one place. Giving patients somewhere to refer back to is particularly useful for new or long-term medication, as it’s easy to forget what needs to be taken and when.
It also saves administration staff time because they don’t need to respond to patient queries about what medication they have and when it’s next due.
Healthcare tracking applications
The past few years have seen an explosion in the numbers of tools that can help patients follow their treatments or change their lifestyle. Apps such as MyTherapy, Clue, Cara, and Health Mapper allow patients to track their symptoms over a long-term basis. They can also be set up to send patients notifications when it’s time to take their medication. For medication that must be taken within a certain window in order to be effective, this is crucial.
The calendars within these applications then mean that patients can see when they’ve taken their medication, and track how it affects their symptoms. This information can then be used by patients and doctors to adjust their medication accordingly. Apps can also be set up so that patients can mark off when they’ve taken their medication. This ensures that even if they see a notification and snooze it, the application can continue to remind them until it is taken.
Smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home are becoming increasingly popular in our homes. They tell us the weather forecast, suggest recipes, and wake us up in the morning. Why not use them to remind us to take medication, too?
When a smart speaker is calendar synced, it can use the information sent by the software application to notify the patient to take their medication. This is useful for elderly or blind patients who may not use a smartphone, but can have their treatment plan synced to the phone of a relative.
Sending patients prescription reminders ensures patients get their medication when they need it.
Building calendar sync into patient management services or healthcare applications is a cheaper way for software providers to offer a prescription reminder service. It takes advantage of a device people use every day – their smartphones – while also being cheaper than the more commonly used text message reminders.
Adding reminders via a patient’s calendar also means that they see it each time they open their calendar. This means it’s more likely to be on their mind building up to when they need to take their medication, unlike text messages, which are easy to forget about until the patient receives the notification.
Want to add prescription reminders to your software?
Contact us today to find out how calendar sync can help you do just that!