How can healthcare providers improve patient’s adherence to taking medicines on schedule with the help of technology? Jones (1983) claimed that “at least one third of all patients fail to complete relatively short-term treatment regimens”. Not only does medication lapses affect patients as their treatment may fail, healthcare providers are also negatively impacted from penalties caused by increased readmittances. Similarly, insurance companies will need to spend more unnecessarily to cover patient healthcare costs.
Why do patients not comply with medication schedule? Some reasons proposed by Dawood, Ibrahim, and Palaian (2010) are failure to recognize importance of following doctor’s advice, complicated regimens, and, for pediatrics, parents' lack of diagnosis understanding and fear of side-effects.
A common solution to this issue is a forcing function: alarms or reminders, smart pill bottles, and, for pediatrics, parental guidance. However, how likely are patients to dismiss the reminder and then forget to take the pills?
To add to the common forcing functions, our solution integrated rewards to the existing forcing functions. However, for our solution to be effective, we integrated empathy and automation to our solution. To guarantee that our reward solution incorporates empathy and automation. We automated detection of medicine taking when giving patients rewards by using smart bottles, and we structure the rewards based on understanding of patient's pain points on taking medicine. We reward patients for taking medication consistently, and increased the reward for taking it on-time; we provide greater rewards on greater pain points, such as refilling prescriptions and for those having more complex regimes; specifically for pediatrics, we reward parents, too, for having their children take medications on-time.